On a defense full of unfamiliar faces, Vince Wilfork is the one constant.
The burly 325-pound nose tackle has gone from a first-round pick to a four-time Pro Bowler while playing alongside some all-time greats.
However, as he enters his ninth year with the Patriots, it’s clear there’s a youth movement along the defensive front.
Chalk that up as welcomed news.
After the heartbreak of ’07, the Patriots’ defense quickly lost many of its stars—Asante Samuel, Rodney Harrison, Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel among them—and Bill Belichick hasn’t been able to adequately replace them.
But as the 2012 season rolls around, it seems the defense—particularly the d-line—has been restocked.
For a dominant nose tackle like Wilfork, the addition of youngsters like Chandler Jones and Jake Bequette can only be welcomed with open arms.
Although the Patriots enjoyed much of their success with a stout 3-4 front, this year’s squad features more athletic, hybrid playe...