New England Patriots: 10 X-Factors In 2015

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3. Jabaal Sheard (Defensive End)

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Noticing a lot of players from the front seven on this list so far? Well, that is because this unit has to lead the defense this season. The Patriots needed pass-rushing help and made a very good move by singing Jabaal Sheard in free agency. In four seasons as a pro, Sheard has compiled 23 sacks. New England is going to have to draw up specific formations and situations in which to use Sheard with Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich firmly holding the starting defensive end jobs. This will help Sheard thrive as a pass rusher like it did for Akeem Ayers last season. If the Patriots defense wants to be successful this year they have to get to the quarterback and Sheard will help them do just that.

Next: Chandler Jones