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Why Woodyard is on the radar

Denver Broncos linebacker Wesley Woodyard has drawn interest from the Patriots in free agency, and while things are always fluid at this time and can change in an instant, there are plans to bring him to town for a free-agent visit Wednesday.

Brandon Krisztal, a sports radio producer in Denver, first tweeted about the Patriots' interest in Woodyard.

Why Woodyard?

Think sub defense.

The Patriots were in sub 67 percent of the time last season and that's where Woodyard -- who at 6-feet, 235 pounds would be a smaller 'backer for the Patriots' traditional scheme -- would likely project to help most.

The seven-year veteran was a weakside linebacker in the Broncos' 4-3 alignment when 2013 training camp opened before being moved to middle linebacker. A stinger sustained against the Cowboys on Oct. 6 knocked him out of the next two games and he was later replaced in the starting lineup.

Woodyard remained a part of Denver's sub packages. One of his greatest assets is speed, which would put him into the mix on special teams as well.

The Patriots look solid at the top of the linebacker depth chart with Jerod Mayo, Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins, so we didn't project an aggressive push at that position from the Patriots in free agency. The thought was that they'd focus more on linebackers who are more core special teamers (e.g. Dane Fletcher).

In Woodyard, who played under Josh McDaniels in 2009 and 2010 with the Broncos, it's possible the Patriots could address both areas -- a linebacker/captain with impact on defense and special teams.