The New England Patriots weren’t buyers at Halloween’s NFL trade deadline, but they could be receiving some midseason front-seven help in the form of Shea McClellin. Some background: McClellin was placed on injured reserve after roster cutdowns but prior to Week 1 with an undisclosed injury. The Patriots can activate two players off of injured reserve this season, and McClellin returned to practice the earliest he was allowed after the Patriots’ Week 6 win over the New York Jets. McClellin was permitted to be activated off of injured reserve after Week 8, but the Patriots had a Week 9 bye. McClellin can be activated as late as Saturday at 4 p.m. and still play Week 10 against the Denver Broncos. It seems likely McClellin will, in fact, be activated. The Patriots have an obvious way to free up a roster spot by placing linebacker Dont’a Hightower, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle, on injured reserve. The Patriots seemingly have waited to place Hightower on injured reserve until they need the roster spot to activate McClellin. The Patriots might choose to keep the Broncos guessing until the last minute at whether they’ll activate McClellin this week. So, how can McClellin help the Patriots? He has experience both as an off-the-line linebacker and edge defender. The Patriots need more help on the edge, especially their third-down pass rush, with Hightower out. Hightower was consistently the Patriots’ most pr0oductive third-down pass rusher prior to his injury. McClellin wasn’t overly productive as a pass rusher last season, though. He had 11 total pressures and one sack on 105 pass-rush snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus. He ranked 72nd among 108 qualified edge defenders in PFF’s pass-rush productivity metric.
What Can Patriots Reasonably Expect From Shea McClellin In Potential Return?
NESN | Nov 6