Sergio Kindle served as Texas’ catalyst after quarterback Colt McCoy suffered an early knockout in January’s national championship game. Kindle’s defensive tenacity gave the Longhorns a chance while their offense was victimized by temporary paralysis, and the hybrid pass rusher showed a unique ability to singlehandedly take over a game.
That type of fire would give a real boost to the Patriots, who might be praying Kindle falls to them at No. 22 during next week’s NFL draft.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder registered 16 1/2 career sacks, 33 1/2 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and one blocked kick.
Why the Patriots Would Want Him
Kindle has the size and strength to overpower blockers, and he is an excellent tackler. He became the first player in history to be named a finalist for the nation’s best defensive lineman and linebacker in the same season, exhibiting his versatility and willingness to adapt to new positions and challenges. Kindle would likely play outside linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4 system, but he could also be used to set the edge as a down lineman in the 4-3 or 3-4. He might not be an every-down player at this point, but he could eventually emerge as one of the NFL’s elite pass rushers.
Why the Patriots Might Stay Away
He has been criticized for loafing it on plays, and Kindle has gotten into some trouble away from the field. The Texas star also has been held out of games with some nagging injuries throughout his career, but at least it’s never been anything serious. Kindle is still a little raw in pass coverage, too.
Potential Impact in 2010
Kindle would fit the Patriots’ most glaring need, and he could step in right away and possibly be their most dangerous pass rusher. He has an NFL build, and there would be a minimal learning curve if he were to be used as a pass-rushing specialist.
What The Locals Are Saying
Kindle draws inspiration by remembering an old friend.
Likelihood Kindle Is Available at No. 22
The Patriots will need a little luck. There appears to be at least four teams ahead of them who will be targeting edge rushers, and Kindle is ranked between third and fifth among the players who will be available. If teams like the Titans and Falcons prefer to go with a more natural 4-3 defensive end, Kindle could very well be available at No. 22.
NESN.com will spotlight players the Patriots could take with their first-round pick.
April 12: Oklahoma tight end Jermaine Gresham
April 13: Florida defensive end Carlos Dunlap
April 14: Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant
April 15: Michigan defensive end/linebacker defensive end Brandon Graham
April 16: Clemson running back C.J. Spiller
April 18: Fresno State running back Ryan Mathews
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