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For the second consecutive year, the Patriots have shored up a weakness at the brink of the trade deadline.
At 6'2" and a listed 330 pounds, the 32 year old Sopoaga is a true, run-stuffing nose tackle. The 10 year veteran was in the midst of a quiet first season with the Eagles, tallying 18 tackles in 8 games while playing only in the team's base defense. He's in the first year of a three year, $12 million contract signed with the Eagles this past offseason.

Prior to his arrival in Philly, Sopoaga had made his name as a starter in San Francisco. The 2011 departure of Aubrayo Franklin left an opening for Sopoaga at nose tackle. The big Hawaiian seized that opportunity and wound up starting the next two seasons in San Francisco, including Super Bowl XLVII last February.

Sopoaga may not provide much pass rush (he only has 7.5 sacks in his career), but he provides the Patriots a desperately needed big body for early downs against the run. Undrafted rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones have played hard while trying to replace the injured Vince Wilfork, but are a bit undersized and have struggled to hold up against the run. Adding a 330 pound body next to eventual starter Tommy Kelly should give the league's 31st ranked run defense a much needed boost.

Ned Brady 10/29/2013 04:34:00 PM Edit
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