Stopping the run a problem?


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If you believe the numbers that Football Outsiders have compiled, then it’s a good thing the Patriots re-signed nose tackle Vince Wilfork.

The Web site is putting together divisional off-season reviews, and the good people over there have tagged linebackers — not surprisingly — as the team’s top remaining need.

But where most people around here are looking for an upgrade at the position to boost the pass-rush, the Outsiders see the run defense as a major problem too, even as the Patriots ranked a respectable 13th in that category last year. The site’s got New England 26th in Adjusted Line Yards, and only one Patriot ranked among the Top 80 in run defeats.

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That player was Wilfork. As for the rest, Adalius Thomas was called “practically invisible” and Tully Banta-Cain’s 2009 season was dismissed as “something of a fluke.”

I think everyone is expecting the Patriots to address the front seven in the draft. But this might shed some light on why getting run-stoppers could be as much of a priority as pass rushers. I’d argue you need to invest to get rushers — since it is considered a premium skill — but it’s obvious there are needs across the board in the front seven.