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Patriots Player Profile: Matthew Judon

New England Patriots outside linebacker/edge rusher Matthew Judon has been a consistently dominant player over the past seven weeks of the Patriots’ season. So far, the Patriots campaign has been riddled with uncertainties, most recently at the quarterback position, but Matthew Judon has been one of the few constant positives of the season thus far. In a Monday night matchup against the Chicago Bears that did not show much promise at all, especially on defense, with them giving up 33 points in a blowout style upset, Judon was one of the only glimmers of hope.

Judon was consistently getting pressure on Justin Fields, with him recording two and a half sacks as well as multiple hurries and disruptions. One of Judon’s sacks resulted in a forced fumble, but unfortunately for the Patriots, it went out of bounds. Judon also made a great play in the first half, with a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage causing an interception caught by Myles Bryant, which was the only turnover of the night for the Patriots.

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Judon is a fan favorite, and it is not just because of his iconic red sleeves. Judon was a defensive force in his first year with the Patriots in 2021 after signing a four-year $54 million contract with $32 million guaranteed and a $18 million signing bonus. Judon earned his worth, recording 12.5 sacks with 53 total tackles in his debut season with New England. Judon even earned the praise of his usually tight-lipped Head Coach Bill Belichick

“Matt’s a good player, he does a lot of things well. He’s added a lot to our team and our defense. I think he’s shown a good ability to play the run, hold up on the line of scrimmage, rush the passer, pursue, effort, does a good job for us on punt return. All the situations he’s on the field for, it’s good to have him out there. "He’s a good player,” Belichick said towards the end of last season.

Judon came out of Grand Valley State University in Michigan, a division two program. At Grand Valley State Judon thrived, recording 153 total tackles, 42.5 of which for lost yardage, along with 28.5 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and eight pass deflections in his time there. Judon was then drafted in 2016 in the fifth round by the Baltimore Ravens with the 146th overall pick. Judon was with the Ravens from 2016 to 2021, where he seamlessly shifted his skill set to the NFL level. In his time with the Ravens, Judon recorded 34.5 sacks, 225 total tackles and seven forced fumbles.

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Judon certainly has the measurables of a dream edge rusher, standing at six-foot-three and weighing in at 260 pounds. Judon does not move akin to his measurables though, when watching him play, one can observe that he gets in the backfield at a rapid rate, running downhill almost immediately. Judon can also stop on a dime and change directions, especially when dealing with option plays, RPOs, and mobile quarterbacks.

Number nine is not afraid to go into pursuit mode and make tackles in the open field, and when he is really needed to, he can even drop back in coverage at times. Judon’s huge frame does make itself obvious when he bull rushes, there are many plays where he simply uses brute strength to overpower his man and go for the sack or run stuff. Judon is certainly a dynamic player.

So far, "Mr. Red-Sleeves" is picking up where he left off in 2021, with him being a defensive presence in every game. Going into week eight of the 2022 season, Judon has recorded 27 total tackles, 8.5 sacks (most in the NFL), a forced fumble, and two pass deflections. It seemed like the entire team was off against the Bears on Monday Night Football, except for Judon.

Facing the 5-2, division rival Jets on the road next week, Judon will look to keep his productive season going. With his team already in must-win territory coming into MetLife Stadium at 3-4 and last in their division, Judon and the Patriots will hope to turn the tides.

Make sure to check out for your local sports updates! - WD

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