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Patriots Interested in Adewale Ogunleye

Adewale Ogunleye worked out for the Patriots Sunday. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America)

Tis’ the season for two-a-days, tedious conditioning, and many lingering questions.

One of the unanswered questions is whether or not Derrick Burgess will play in 2010.

With Burgess keeping his answer under wraps for the moment, Bill Belichick and Nick Caserio are exploring their options. According to Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Patriots worked out Adewale Ogunleye Sunday.

Ogunleye, 32, has played DE for the entirety of his nine-year career. Ogunleye was undrafted out of the University of Indiana when he signed with the Miami Dolphins before the Chicago Bears signed him to a 6-year, $34 million deal following the 2003 season.

Although Ogunleye saw solid success with the Bears, many were hoping for him to be a constant 10-sack-per-year pass rusher. Instead, Ogunleye only recorded more than 6.5 sacks twice during his 6-year career in Chicago.

The 6’4”, 260-pound Ogunleye is coming off a fractured right fibula, which is a reason why the level of interest hasn’t been high for Ogunleye.

Current Lack of Depth at OLB

The Patriots enter training camp very slim at the OLB position. Last week the team decided to part ways with 2008 third round draft pick Shawn Crable, who failed to play in a regular season game–causing fans with similar disappointment that they saw with the enigma himself, Chad Jackson.

The release of Crable leaves New England with Tully Banta-Cain, Rob Ninkovich, Pierre Woods and rookie Jermaine Cunningham at OLB–pending on Burgess’ decision.

It seems like a slim hope that Ogunleye can make the switch to OLB, but the Patriots seem open to the possibility. Last season when the Patriots traded a third and fifth round pick in 2009 NFL Draft for Burgess it was the first time in Burgess’ career that he made the switch.

It didn’t work too well for Burgess.

Now with the need to add depth, the Patriots appear to want to try a similar move by adding Ogunleye.

Last season the Patriots ranked 23rd in sacks, with Banta-Cain leading the way with 9.5, and Burgess and Mike Wright the next closest recording just five.

It’s no secret that Patriots are in desperate need of a consistent, pass rushing OLB. The problem is that Ogunleye is certainly not that guy, especially considering his age and the fact that he’s not accustomed to playing standing up.

Patriots Pass Rush Through the Years

It’s also no secret that when the Patriots have won championships that they had a successful pass rush.

In 2001, Bobby Hamilton, Anthony Pleasant and Willie McGinest combined for nearly 20 sacks. Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel each nearly had 10 sacks a piece in 2003 and in 2004, the Patriots benefited from strong season from McGinest.

During those years the Patriots also had a subpar secondary, but with the added pass rush the secondary had a burden off their shoulders.

If the Patriots hope to make it back to the playoffs they will need a strong showing for the before mentioned players.

Will Ogunleye help?

Probably not. He’s at the end of his career, coming off an injury, and has never played the position.

But, either way the Patriots have to do something on the edge or it will be a long season for the Patriots defense.

About Matthew Marcantonio - @M_Marcantonio

Matthew Marcantonio is the Patriots and college football editor at Sports of Boston. Marcantonio has contributed for two newspapers; the Sentinel & Enterprise (Leominster, Mass) and The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La) and held internships with The Bleacher Report and Sports Illustrated.

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One comment for “Patriots Interested in Adewale Ogunleye”

  1. i think dewale shud be with new engladn

    Posted by joey bevans | August 29, 2010, 2:10 pm

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