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Greg Cosell: ‘The Patriots would be a better defense if they had an edge rusher that demanded attention’

04.03.12 at 2:39 pm ET

Greg Cosell hears you, Patriots fans. Cosell, who produces the show “NFL Matchup” for ESPN, and watches more game film than just about anyone, understands the hue and cry among New England fans to draft a pass rusher.

“I think an edge rusher that would demand attention is always important,” Cosell said. “The Patriots would be a better defense if they had an edge rusher who demanded attention. That’s what it comes down to.”

Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio says this is a good draft if you’re looking at the front seven. Rush linebackers who are expected to go in the first round include Whitney Mercilus, Courtney Upshaw and Melvin Ingram. Cosell, who calls sacks a “totally overrated” statistic, says the key is finding someone who will demand attention from an offensive coordinator. From there, he explains that it’s a “domino effect.”

“Having an edge rusher, he’s not going to get 40 sacks. That won’t happen,” he said. “You want the defense, when they game plan, to have to say, ‘We need to allocate an extra body for this guy.’ So now, instead of being able to send five eligible receivers out, you can only send four. Defense then has an advantage right away. It’s a domino effect.

“Football is a numbers game. How can you get to the quarterback with the fewest number of rushers? On offense, how can you protect your quarterback with the fewest number of protectors? It’s all numbers. If you can win the numbers battle, pre-snap … because you have Randy Moss, who automatically allocates two guys. If you can win the numbers battle because you have DeMarcus Ware, who automatically dictates an extra guy somewhere along the line of scrimmage, you can do other things. That’s what it all comes down to. It doesn’t mean that he’s going to get five sacks a game.”

Read More: Courtney Upshaw, DeMarcus Ware, Greg Cosell, Melvin Ingram



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