A snowy night back in January 2002 is when Tom Brady had his first playoff victory.
When pressure, in the form of Charles Woodson, hit Tom square on his shoulders, the ball which was firmly gripped alongside his chest with both hands, flew out and was pounced on by Greg Biekert only to be over-ruled by a little known rule called the "Tuck."
Substitue in conditions that no one can clearly see in and pressure is relieved by two field goals, and that's how the infamous "Tuck" is born.
Fast forward six years later and another Tuck ends Brady's perfect season. Justin Tuck played the game of his life recording five tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble. The key to beating Brady has always been pressure, and there hasn't ever been a higher premium on pass rushing defensive lineman.
If you look at the top of this draft, there are no linebackers projected in the top half of the draft and only one, possibly two defensive backs, but surely none will crack the top ten. Out of the top 10 picks, there are four defensive ends that are worthy of a a selection there, with two sure bets in Chris Long and Vernon Gholston. The other two are Derrick Harvey and Philip Merling.
The days of the mammoth linemen just put there as an immovable object with no real threat against even against a semi-mobile quarterback are over. The latest man to make a force in the league who is 350 lbs or more is Shaun Rogers...and he made an interception and ran 66 yards for a touchdown just last season.
The "new breed" of defensive tackles are being a disruptive force in the backfield more than ever. They're bigger, stronger, faster, and even capable of being touchdown catchers with really horrid dance moves in some cases.
In the top ten, two sure-fire prospects are to be drafted in Sedrick Ellis and Glenn Dorsey. They're both smaller in comparison to most defensive tackles by height, 6-1 and 6-2, and also in weight 303 lbs and 305 lbs. They both penetrate the backfield in different, yet dominating ways. Ellis chooses to use quickness and hand movement, while Dorsey uses brute strength.
Teams saw what happened to Brady in the Super Bowl and are attempting to make the most of their defensive line this upcoming season. Just ask the Cleveland Browns and the Oakland Raiders. They'll tell you how much gaining a disruptive line means to the defense.
When you can rush the quarterback like the Giants did, it enables the defense to not have to blitz as often, creating more packages and schemes for players usually designated to attack the opposing backfield. If you only have to rush four players, it leaves the rest of your defense less vulnerable.
Look for the Patriots to grab one of these highlight players, probably one of the "tweener" defensive ends, just so Tom won't have to get annihilated again.
All in all, the number of defensive lineman in top ten alone is a minimum of four and a maximum of six. Seeing the blueprint for success almost always creates a new rule of drafting for teams.
Let's just hope this new sense of the "Tuck" rule ends up better then the last.
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