The New England Patriots could have one of the best 4-3 defensive tackle duos in the NFL if Tommy Kellyis able to perform at a high level next to Vince Wilfork, and both players have the ability to make each other better by playing off of their skills. Wilfork is still one of the best run-stopping DTs around, and he is actually a plus pass rusher due to his ability to suck in blockers. Pass rushing as a DT is more than just about getting after the QB, but you would obviously like to have a guy like Kelly who is disruptive next to a guy like Wilfork who swallows up blockers. Kelly still has the tools to be a dynamic pass rusher, and we’ve seen him play well in training camp and get a good lick on Nick Foles (along with Chandler Jones) in the preseason.
Vince Wilfork had this to sayabout Kelly, “You can’t single up on [us], especially with a guy like Tommy coming in — his size, and the speed he plays with. The power that he plays with. His size in general. We’re both big guys, but he’s a lot taller than me. He’s longer than me. At the same time, he also brings some power.
“He’s a good three-technique. Three, five, wherever we want to move him. That’s very, very good, because we can move him in different positions and move myself in different positions. It will make [it tougher for] our opponents to game plan against us.
When Wilfork starts things off by saying that opponents have to double-team the duo, that’s when scary thoughts should be entering opposing offensive linemen. These guys have a chance to form a dynamic pairing against the pass, as well as play stout against the run thanks to Wilfork and the slew of talented run defenders on the Patriots defense. Kelly’s height is something of a legend, and he certainly does have power.
Kelly’s versatility is also worth noting, because he could easily make it as a 3-4 DE. Heck, I could even see him being a success as a 4-3 DE in this league, but that might be a stretch.