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Panthers head coach Ron Rivera describes the type of player the Patriots have in DE Kony Ealy

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The Patriots acquired a pass rusher from the Panthers. Carolina’s head coach describes that player to the media.

The New England Patriots acquired EDGE Kony Ealy and a third round pick from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the 64th overall pick. Panthers head coach Ron Rivera spoke with the media, via ESPN, to describe the type of player the Patriots are getting in Ealy.

“Well, I tell you, they got a guy that hasn’t really, truly tapped his potential,” Rivera said. “He showed it, he flashed it in the Super Bowl. So, again, if they can get him back to that point, I think then they would get a very explosive pass rusher.”

Ealy was an inconsistent player with the Panthers, but was an incredible force when he was “on.” Ealy racked up 3 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and one recovery in Super Bowl 50 against the Denver Broncos in just 38% of the snaps.

The 6’4, 275 pound Ealy is an incredible streaky player that seems to struggle in the first half of the season before emerging in the second half of the year, like a reverse Chandler Jones. Ealy has just one career sack in September and October, but 16 sacks from November onward, including the playoffs.

If the Patriots can find a way to make Ealy play in September and October with the same level of success as he does down the final stretch, then the Patriots have acquired a potential double-digit sack star. If not, well, the Patriots acquired a player that will step up down the stretch and in the playoffs.

The Patriots will be happy either way.