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Shaq Thompson Is A Perfect Fit For The Patriots

The New England Patriots currently sit at 3-3 and their defense has been incredible, especially in weeks 5 & 6. So far this season, the Patriots are eighth in points allowed with 18.8 per game. Their biggest problem is their ability to defend the run, allowing 119 yards per game on the ground, the seventeenth in the league. After losing D’onta Hightower this offseason, New England’s interior linebacking core is not great.  

The Patriots’ depth chart at interior linebacker includes Ja’Whaun Bentley, Jahlani Tavai, Raekwon McMillan, & Mack Wilson. The player with the highest PFF-rated linebacker is Ja’Whaun Bentley with a grade of 68.4, twenty-second in the league. On the opposite end of the spectrum, among linebackers with 90 or more snaps, McMillan is ranked as the worst linebacker in the league. Most of the linebacking group has not played well so far. Besides Bentley, nobody else is within the top 35 of linebackers and it is by far their worst position group. It is safe to say they need to bolster their linebackers and grab someone who can defend the run before the trade deadline. 

The Move The Patriots Should Make

The Carolina Panthers are the worst team in football right now and it is not even close. Baker Mayfield has been bad and is injured, their defense is atrocious, and they really have nothing going for them. They are selling everybody; Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson have already been traded, and young stars like DJ Moore and Brian Burns may be on the block if the offer is right. There is one name in Carolina that the Patriots should be on the lookout for, his name is Shaq Thompson.

Who Is Shaq Thompson?

Thompson was drafted with the twenty-fifth overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft by Carolina and was highly touted as one of the best linebackers in the class. He was pretty good for the Panthers, so they re-signed him to a 4-year extension worth up to $54.4 million and after this year there is only one more year left on that deal. He is available for trade according to the Panthers and his fit on the Patriots is perfect.

Thompson is like any former Patriots linebacker you can think of, a hybrid type of player. He’s fast, can defund the run, and can (kind of) hold his own in coverage. He fits the mold that the Pats need right now to help them defend the run, which they surprisingly did well against one of the league’s best running backs cores in the league in Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt when they beat Cleveland 38-15 in week 6. Prior to that stellar performance from the Patriots’ defense where they only allowed 70 yards on the ground, they allowed 128.8 yards per game. That includes Lamar Jackson and crew rushing for 188 yards and a 199-yard performance by AJ Dillon, Aaron Jones, & the Packers.

Shaq Thompson would fill the huge gap at linebacker and run defense with his 83.8 PFF run defense grade and his 19 total stops. Adding Shaq would add another veteran leader to this defense If Bill Belichick and the Patriots want to continue their defensive dominance in the past two games, Bill has to pick up the phone and call Scott Fitterer and get Shaq Thompson on a plane to Logan Airport as soon as possible.

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