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Tuesday, 29 October 2013 20:50

New England Patriots Bolster Run Defense at Trade Deadline

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In the NFL’s lone deadline trade, the New England Patriots acquired defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga and a 2014 sixth round drack pick from the Philadelphia Eagles in exchange for a fifth round pick.

With Vince Wilfork out for the year and Tommy Kelly week-to-week with a knee injury, Sopoaga will provide some much needed veteran experience at defensive tackle, where the Patriots have been playing two rookies and a second-year practice squad-er.

The 32-year-old Sopoaga was a fourth round draft pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2004 and played his entire career in San Fran before signing with the Eagles this past offseason. Over the last few years he’s primarily served as a situational run stopper, playing roughly 30 percent of the Niners’ defensive snaps in 2012 and about 40 percent of the Eagles’ this season.

At 6’2”, 330 pounds, Sopoaga has the size and the experience to play nose tackle or a 3 technique. To be sure, he is no replacement for Wilfork’s production, or Kelly’s for that matter, but the veteran should provide some much needed reinforcements for a Patriots’ run-D that has given up 156.5 rushing yards per game since Wilfork went down. 

Miscellaneous but semi-interesting fact: This is the second year in a row in which Bill Belichick has made a deadline trade for a player the Patriots practiced against in training camp. In 2012 the Pats' made a last-minute deal with the Tampa Bay Bucanneers for cornerback Aqib Talib.