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Is Peppers another Reggie White?

Posted by Albert Breer  February 16, 2010 07:20 AM

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Reggie White.jpg
Julius Peppers has been a hot name around these parts of late, and for good reason -- He's a super talent at the Patriots' biggest position of need.

How good is he? Well, I heard ESPN's Adam Schefter say yesterday, as he reported on how unlikely it is that the Panthers tag him at the $20.02 million it'll cost, that Peppers could be the highest profile free agent since Reggie White. In fact, he's written it, too.

Is Peppers as good? Well, it's obvious that physically, Peppers is good as it gets. But how about his production? Let's put the two next to each other and compare them, as Peppers hits free agency after eight seasons, just as White did after his eighth season in 1993, the first year of free agency in the NFL.

SIZE
Peppers: 6-foot-7, 283 pounds
White: 6-foot-5, 291 pounds

PRO BOWLS
Peppers: 5
White: 7

ALL-PRO BERTHS
Peppers: 4
White: 5


peppers.jpgDEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Peppers: N/A
White: 1987


SACKS
Peppers: 81
White: 124

INTERCEPTIONS
Peppers: 6
White: 2

FORCED FUMBLES
Peppers: 30
White: 18

Then, there's team success ... Peppers has played in a Super Bowl, while White -- at that point in his career -- hadn't. Also worth noting that through eight years, Peppers has been part of five Top 10 defenses and two Top 5 units, while White was part of four Top 10 defenses and a single Top 5 group in eight years as an Eagle. And you also have to take into account that White had two USFL seasons under his belt before playing a single NFL snap.

So what does it all mean? White was a rare talent, and so is Peppers. So even as it sounds quiet now around the big pass rusher, don't be surprised if there's an Oklahoma Land Rush for his services in a couple weeks time.

The key for the Patriots? I've heard that fit is important to Peppers, and despite his history, he might value that enough to leave a couple bucks on the table in the end. But that's if it's close, so the pace of the bidding war for Peppers, and whether or not it spirals into the stratosphere fast, could dictate how involved New England would be.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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