Analyst says Vince Wilfork is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL

Say what you want about the New England Patriots defense, but there’s no denying Vince Wilfork's status as one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.

That point was recently echoed by’s Pat Kirwan, who lists Wilfork as the third best defensive lineman in the NFL. Kirwan also believes that Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones could become one of the league’s best defensive ends by midseason.

Houston's J.J. Watt and Baltimore’s Haloti Ngata were listed as the top defensive linemen.

In grading Wilfork, Kirwan notes his improved stamina. In previous years, Wilfork came off the field in passing situations, which limited him to a combined 1,179 snaps during the 2008 and 2009 seasons (30 games). Last season, he played 1,041 snaps, including playoffs.

“Wilfork has outstanding range along the line of scrimmage and that’s the reason New England plays him at DE more often than he lines up in his original nose tackle position,” Kirwan writes.

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