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Lost in the mess that was Oakland Raiders football was the play of the newest member of the Patriots, Derrick Burgess.
New England spent a large portion of the off-season looking to bolster up their defense. Names such as Julius Peppers, Jason Taylor, and Willie McGinest traveled through Foxboro and ultimately, the Patriots ended up with a tough pressure-inducing threat.
Burgess will most likely be used in an outside linebacker role. His speed and power will make him a dangerous tool and a good season will involve a plethora of sacks. During his eight seasons, he accumulated 47 sacks and 227 tackles. During the 2005 season, Burgess set the Raiders single season sack record with 16, which was also a league high that season.
His accomplishments come with some uncertainty as well. He missed the entire 2003 season with a torn Achilles tendon. Last year, he was only able to play in ten games during an injury-plagued season. He has frequently missed games due to numerous injuries.
In a outside linebacker position, he will join a rotation of Adalius Thomas, Pierre Woods and Tully Banta-Cain. His prior work as a Defensive End will let him play the line as well. He should help the Patriots defense improve on its sack total of 31 last season, tied for 14th in the league. Playing behind Richard Seymour, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, and Jarvis Green, Burgess will have plenty of opportunities to make a run at a few quarterbacks.
Burgess, a two time Pro Bowler, was a holdout at Oakland’s camp this year, wishing for a trade. After nine days, the Patriots made the offer of a third and fourth round pick in the 2010 draft to acquire him. This trade could turn out to be another Patriot steal, should Burgess return to his 2005 form.
He is entering the final year of a five-year deal and players are notorious for stepping up their game to bolster their chance of a monstrous contract in the off-season, ala Albert Haynesworth. Expect big things from Burgess this up coming season and for the Patriots defense to be at the top of the NFL.