Tommy Kelly chose New England Patriots with Vince Wilfork in mind

The New England Patriots defensive tackle situation went from being a weakness going into the offseason to potentially becoming a strength now that the Patriots have signed Armond Armstead and Tommy Kelly. At least one of those two is going to be the interior pass rusher the Patriots really need, and there is a better chance that both succeed than the chance of both failing. Armstead has been valued by many as a second-round pick, while Kelly was a very good interior pass rusher for the Oakland Raiders who merely suffered a down year last season. Kelly isn’t what he used to be, but there’s evidence that he’s still a good player and that a change of scenery will significantly help him.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

According to Kelly, part of the reason why the Patriots were able to sign him is because of the opportunity to play next to one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL- Vince Wilfork. The big DT is still playing at an elite level, and his ability to eat up blocks against the pass, dominate against the run, and his increased stamina and quickness have allowed him to continue to flourish. Kelly’s pass rushing ability will be greatly helped by Wilfork, because Wilfork will eat up the blockers next to him and free up the fellow veteran DT. It’s going to be a great relationship, and I’m sure Kelly realizes the value of this.

“You get to the end of your career, you get the opportunity to play with a real good team like New England — it came down to a couple teams — but I guess after talking with Coach [Bill] Belichick and then just the opportunity to play with Vince,” Kelly said on Patriots Today. “You wanna play with someone that can play. You know, you always watch people who play your position. I mean, he’s a real good player. A hell of a player.”

Richard Seymour was an incredible player for the New England Patriots, and Kelly added that Seymour’s comments on the Patriots also aided Kelly’s decision to choose the Patriots this offseason. Both players starred for the Oakland Raiders on the defensive line, and hopefully Kelly can have a solid impact on the Patriots pass rush in 2013.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.

Topics: New England Patriots, Richard Seymour, Tommy Kelly, Vince Wilfork

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  • Pridenpoise

    I can tell you that Kelly will be a great addition to the Pats, being a Raider fan I was sad to see him go, however he will do well lined up with Wilfork, that’s a lot of beef to stuff the run. Kelly is still capable of getting after the QB as well, if he is rotated in the lineup, and not used on every down he will be a force. In Oakland the cupboards were bare and Kelly was asked to do a lot I think he got burned out, I still think he can be a great player if he is not leaned on to play every down.

    • http://www.musketfire.com/ Joe Soriano

      Thanks for dropping by, Brian, and it’s interesting that you mention that he was burned out. I don’t expect the Patriots to give him a large workload, so I feel like he’ll be in the best position to show off his pass rushing skills in that role and next to Wilfork.

      • Hal Bent

        No Love, no Deaderick….time to call Richard Seymour??? Now that would be something (not holding my breath to see it, but what the heck is going on releasing all these d-linemen?)

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