The Patriots have made a move to upgrade their inside linebacking corps with the addition of inside linebacker Paris Lenon.
Lenon has spent his entire career as a 4-3 middle linebacker, so he will have to make the transition to 3-4 inside linebacker for the Patriots. Assuming he can make this transition, he could be a big boost for the Patriots. Lenon, 31, recorded 118 and 121 tackles in his last two seasons with the Lions, and can add sure tackling, experience, and smarts to the Patriots. Here is what ESPN’s Scouts Inc. had to say on Lenon prior to the 2008 season:
Lenon is a six year player coming off his best season as the second leading tackler for the Detroit defense. He has good height and has grown into his body nicely. He is a solid athlete, but not an explosive player. He runs well and shows good range in pursuit. He has burst to close and agility to slip blockers or change directions to get to the pile. He uses his hands well, while pursuing with proper angles to work through trash to stay in the fray. He is a solid wrap tackler, but needs to keep his pads over his feet better. He has improved his reactions and appears to be more instinctive over this past season. He has a good feel for route progressions and leveraging the ball as well as having enough athleticism to be an effective man coverage defender. He has worked himself into a starting position and should continue to improve given his intelligence, work ethic and durability.
While Lenon likely won’t be making any Pro Bowl appearances, he could easily push Bruschi and Guyton for playing time on the inside. And if things turn out well, he could be an option for 2010 if Bruschi does retire.
The Patriots hosted Lenon on a visit last week. Interestingly, they hosted former Rams inside linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa this week as well. Although with the addition of Lenon, I wouldn’t expect the Patriots to add Tinoisamoa.