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Monday, April 8, 2013

The Patriots Love Their Washed Up Defensive Linemen That Used To Be Great

It wouldn't be a typical offseason for the Patriots under Bill Belichick without them picking up some seemingly over the hill defensive lineman/fat slob that they can park next to Vince Wilfork. The problem is that the last few times they've tried this predictable method, it hasn't worked (see: Albert Haynesworth and to a lesser extent Gerard Warren).

This afternoon, they signed former Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly to a two-year contract. The poor guy had played his entire career in NFL hell aka Oakland after being undrafted in 2004 out of Mississippi State. He follows the familiar New England pattern of a guy that is low risk but potentially high reward. He's 32 and won't be 33 until December, keep in mind that the fat guys can last longer since they were never in peak physical shape to begin with.

Of his full seasons in the NFL, last year was statistically the worst and who could blame him since must have been very frustrated on that pathetic team. In 2012, he had 46 total tackles (25 solo, 21 assists) with 1.5 sacks and one fumble recovered. I assume he has something left in the tank since he was awesome in 2010 and 2011 for an interior lineman: 7 sacks in 2011 and 7.5 sacks in 2012.

A good sign is his durability, he's played all 16 games in seven of his nine NFL seasons including the last five in a row. Being undrafted has to play into that since that gives anyone a chip on their shoulder. He is 6-foot-6 and 325 pounds so no matter how unathletic he is, he should be a load to move when they play him with Wilfork.

Like most moves with the Pats, this isn't flashy and it won't get any headlines but it could be a steal for the next few years if he's motivated. I have to assume he will be pumped to be on a Super Bowl contender with a playoff spot a foregone conclusion. Those are a little different expectations than the neverending circus in Oakland.

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