In a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com, former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Eric Mangini shares insight on veteran defensive lineman Shaun Ellis and how he fits with the Patriots.
Whether it's a 3-4 defense or more of a 4-3 look, Mangini notes that Ellis has been adaptable.
"He has versatility, he even played some outside linebacker for us when we wanted to get really big," Mangini says. "We'd stand him up over the tight end and he can kill guys. I don't know if that's something Bill [Belichick] will do, but he can do it and do it well. He can drop into coverage; he has that type of athleticism in the base [defense]."
In a standard 3-4 alignment, Mangini envisions Ellis as a good fit at Ty Warren's old spot as a "run-stopping end."
In a 4-3 alignment, or even a 3-4 alignment with 4-3 spacing, Mangini sees Ellis at end as well.
"That's where he played in Rex's system [with the Jets]. Rex runs a 3-4 but with 4-3 spacing," Mangini says. "That's what Baltimore does, what Pittsburgh does, it's 3-4 personnel but set up like a 4-3. That's another reason Shaun makes sense. He has a comfort level with that. He's a unique guy. You can do some creative stuff with him that you couldn't do with a lot of defensive ends."