The New England Patriots' biggest need heading into the 2009 draft is obviously linebacker. Many names have been floated around in connection to the Pats with the 23rd overall pick.
Larry English, Brian Cushing, Clay Matthews, and Cody Brown all have been specifically mentioned as being on the Patriots' radar at linebacker.
I personally think the best option in the draft is Virginia linebacker Clint Sintim. I've heard people saying Sintim will go in the second or possibly even third round.
I remember some analysts saying the same about Jerod Mayo last year. I absolutely believe Sintim is worth the 23rd overall pick.
Sintim was a four-year starter at Virginia playing in Al Groh's complicated 3-4 defense. He finished his college career with 26 sacks playing inside and at rush linebacker.
Many experts consider him the most versatile linebacker in the draft. As most people know, versatility is the most important part of playing linebacker in Belichick's defense.
Al Groh and Belichick both come from the Bill Parcells coaching tree and both run similar defenses. So it's not a stretch to say that Sintim may have an easier time picking up the Patriots defense than any of those other linebackers.
I think Sintim would be a good fit stuffing running backs inside or rushing the passer outside.
While Sintim isn't the most explosive pass rusher in the draft, he is still very good at applying pressure.
His aggressive tackling and ability to play inside or out is what separates him from all the others. Regardless of where he plays he will create an impact.
While the Patriots have many options in the first two rounds I'm hoping that Sintim will be in their plans.
Their need for an outside rusher is painfully obvious. They're also going to need someone to replace Tedi Bruschi, who is winding down inside.
Sintim is the obvious choice to cover both areas of need. With all that in mind, he holds the most value. I would like to hear anyone else's thoughts on what New England should do with their first-round pick.