Peppers to Pats???
I should probably note that I am a die-hard New England sports fan, but now that I’ve gotten that out of the way I will let the journalist in me take over again. The New England Patriots, according to Vic Carucci of NFL.com, are in position to trade their 34th overall draft pick to the Carolina Panthers for Pro-Bowl DE Julius Peppers. The 29-year-old Peppers would probably be converted to outside linebacker in the wake of Mike Vrabel’s departure to Kansas City. But the still-in-his-prime veteran should have little trouble fitting into their scheme and being a relentless pass rusher off the edge, something they could sorely miss with Vrabel departing. Despite always being considered a perfect fit for a 4-3 setup, Peppers’ agent Carl Carey stated back in January that his client is intrigued by the idea of playing in a 3-4 defense in 2009, which bodes very well for New England’s prospects of landing him. Said Carey of Peppers:
Julius feels he can thrive in another system. Perhaps a 3-4 (defense) will give him the opportunities he is seeking and will allow him to use his athletic ability to its fullest potential. He is seeking something different that will open him up some and allow him to be the disruptive force that he believes he has the potential to be.
The Patriots would effectively parlay Tom Brady’s backup and the still-reliable but aging Vrabel into a stud defensive player who could be a cornerstone for several years if the Patriots decide to sign him long-term. This would be another in a series of many moves the Pats have made to improve their roster this off-season, which includes the signings of RB Fred Taylor, WR Joey Galloway, CBs Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden, and trading for WR Greg Lewis. And don’t forget they would still have three picks in the first two rounds of next month’s NFL Draft.
Here’s a very well-edited video package of some highlights from Peppers’ 2008 season, in which he started for the NFC in the Pro Bowl:
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