The 2011 NFL season was a banner year for Tom Brady. Brady threw 39 touchdown passes against only 12 interceptions and threw for 5,235 yards (the second highest total in NFL history) with a 105.6 QB Rating. Brady also led a Patriots team that had the NFL’s the 31st ranked defense and no real running game to speak of to a 13-3 record and within minutes of another Super Bowl title. If it weren’t for Aaron Rodgers and his superhuman performance at Quarterback, Brady would’ve almost certainly been awarded his third MVP trophy in 5 years.
As impressive as Brady was in 2011, one question still remains: how long can he keep it up? Brady will be 35 years old at the start of the 2012 NFL season and one has to wonder when age will begin to catch up with the 13 year veteran. 35 certainly isn’t as old for a quarterback as it may be for a player that plays a position that requires more athleticism, and Brady has shown few signs of slowing down, but the window to win another championship for the Patriots with Brady at the helm is undoubtedly closing.
With this in mind, the normally frugal Patriots went all in at this year’s draft. Foregoing their normal philosophy of trading back and stockpiling picks, the Pats instead traded up not once, but twice in the first round to draft two defensive studs in an effort to bolster their much maligned defense.
First, the Patriots traded up from the 25th pick to the 21st to draft Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. Standing at 6 ft 5 in and weighing in at 266 pounds, the 22 year old should provide the anemic New England pass rush with a much needed boost. After drafting Jones, the Patriots shocked many by trading up again to the 25th pick to draft linebacker Dont'a Hightower out of Alabama. The versatile Hightower is capable of playing any position in the 4-3 as well as inside linebacker in the 3-4 and is great at shedding blocks and getting to the ball carrier. Further emphasizing their determination to improve their defense,...
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