New England Patriots: Run defense ranked highly by Pro Football Focus

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcom Brown
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14: Malcom Brown /

Pro Football Focus recently ranked the top run defenses heading into the 2018 season. Where did the New England Patriots rank?

Coming into the 2018 season, the New England Patriots will be a different looking team compared to the one that we saw in the Super Bowl last season. Most notably on the offensive side of the ball, the Patriots will have a lot of new faces.

However, they also made some changes on the defensive side of the ball. In the Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, their defense got exposed on both the air and on the ground.

This offseason, the Patriots clearly focused on upgrading their defense on multiple levels. After the benching of Malcolm Butler, the Patriots were clearly going to be moving on from him this offseason. To help replace Butler, they brought in Jason McCourty to play with his twin brother Devin.

Up front, the Patriots got one of the best-run stuffers in the league from the Cleveland Browns in Danny Shelton. While Shelton won’t provide much for the pass-rush, he will be able to fill a need in the middle.

Recently, Pro Football Focus ranked the top run defenses heading into the 2018 season. For the Patriots, they came in ranked third behind the Green Bay Packers and Denver Broncos.

Seeing the Patriots ranked third heading into the season is certainly very encouraging for the defense. The addition of Shelton was a big one for the Patriots, as he instantly makes them much better against the run. With Shelton and Malcom Brown in the middle, the Patriots have two players that excel against the run.

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While Trey Flowers is known for being a good pass-rusher, he is a complete player on the edge that also plays well against the run. Having a dominant run defense will be important this season for the Patriots, as two of the teams that are threats to them in the AFC run the ball well. If they are able to keep a Top-5 run defense throughout the season, the Patriots will matchup well against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars.