The New England Patriots have signed second-year defensive tackle Terrell McClain after working him out last week, and they released DT Marcus Fortson in order to make room for McClain.
The Pats worked out the former Carolina Panthers DT, as well as former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon last week. It’s interesting to see that the Pats have signed McClain, who is undersized and is terrible against the run. In fact, he was rated by the Pro Football Focus as the worst starting defensive tackle against the run last season.
However, he is a solid rotational pass rusher and has upside in that regard. Jermaine Cunningham is a great pass rushing option on the inside on third-downs, but the Patriots could afford to help their interior pass rush in terms of depth.
The problem is that Dixon is clearly the better player due to his prowess against the run. The reason why he was released by the Eagles was because he didn’t fit their new Wide-9 scheme under Jim Washburn. Meanwhile, the Panthers dropped McClain after just one season in the league in order to sign Dwan Edwards over him.
Even though McClain is clearly worse than Dixon, he does offer one thing that the Pats need; he can rush the passer. Don’t expect more than minimal snaps going forward for McClain, as his looks will be in clear passing situations. The Pats already have two top run-stuffing DTs, so there is little need to bring in a third despite Dixon’s playing value.
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