The New England Patriots have some good competition for the, by my estimate, fourth and final defensive tackle spot on the roster, and it’s all about the young guys at this position. UDFA DTs Cory Grissom and Joe Vellano and second-year Miami Hurricanes UDFA Marcus Forston are the three players competing for that final spot, and it looks like Forston has the early edge. Grissom only got back onto the field for training camp Thursday after missing the beginning of camp with an unknown ailment, but he was the guy I had penciled in as the fourth DT prior to camp, because he really should have been drafted after being a standout run-stuffer for the USF Bulls in college. Vellano has been doing a solid job in 1-on-1s, but he’s just not good enough and looks like a perfect fit as a practice squad player.
As for Marcus Forston, he spent last year on the practice squad, and he now looks poised to make the Patriots 53-man roster if he can hold off Grissom and Vellano. We’ll see how Grissom continues to do, and he’s looked pretty good to start things off after the injury. Meanwhile, Forston has been good all camp, and he is an extremely disruptive defensive tackle who has a lot of strength. There is plenty of upside with Forston, who was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and simply underperformed at college in Miami.
Forston is looking to cut out all of that past stuff and crack the Patriots roster this year, and he already has the edge. I would say that if the Patriots had to cut down their roster to 53 men today and four DTs, then Forston would be the one to make the roster. He looks like somebody who can push the pocket as a pass rusher successfully and hold his own against the run, so there is a spot for him as a backup DT. Forston has been learning from the best guy to learn about the position from, and that’s star veteran DT Vince Wilfork.
Wilfork has been spending a lot of time helping Forston, who said this via ESPN Boston, “All the time. I’m probably with Vince four days out of the week. Either that’s here or at his house.”
He added that he and Wilfork are always talking about the game, It’s always talk about football when me and him are around. It’s always about football. I’m always picking his brain.”
With an impressive training camp to this point, Marcus Forston looks poised to crack the Patriots roster, and I’m sure the help he is receiving from Vince Wilfork is part of the reason why. Forston has the talent, and now it’s time for him to show it and be a quality rotational DT for this team.