Lots of talk of Nick Paden coming in at middle linebacker. Lets look at that position.
Paden is expected to replace Dante Floyd as the team's starter in the middle. Floyd was a leader for the team last season. Although it was a dismal performance by the defense in 07, Floyd was a bright spot. He made over 100 tackles on the year, got in the backfield often and created turnovers.
He was also a ball of fire on the field. He had a motor mouth that didn't stop moving and often got the team fired up even in the most trying of circumstances.
Will Paden be Floyd? Obviously not identical. He will have to bring certain intangibles to the lineup however. He will have to play tough against the run. Floyd was a bit undersized last season and we all know how NMSU defended the ground game. Paden will have to step in and bring a certain toughness to the middle and be stout against the point of attack and blocking. He will also have to be adequate in coverage assignments. Will Paden be asked to blitz a lot this year. It seems like everyone will. But there will be times he'll be asked to drop back and provide help in the secondary.
Replacing Floyd's leadership and fiery nature will be difficult. Paden will be asked to fill big shoes. No one said playing middle linebacker was easy.