It looks like the New England Patriots are going to be scouring the waiver wire for defensive tackles, as they have released Marcus Forston, according to multiple reports. I thought Forston was basically a sure bet to make the roster, and the Patriots would be thin at defensive tackle if they don’t pick somebody else up. Right now, the Patriots have just three defensive tackles on the roster in Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, and Joe Vellano. The fact that Forston has been released clearly bodes well for Vellano, who appears to be a lock right now following Forston’s release.
Marcus Forston was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, but he severely underperformed in college with the Miami Hurricanes and ended up as an undrafted free agent. He spent his time on the New England Patriots practice squad last season, and he turned in a promising August this year with a few noteworthy performances in the preseason. Forston is a disruptive pass rusher as a defensive tackle, but he is a poor run defender due to his overly aggressive play on the interior. I hope Forston can still make the Patriots practice squad, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him sign on elsewhere.
Joe Vellano has been a standout this preseason, as he was solid during drills in training camp and also had some huge games in the preseason. Vellano seemed to get worse as the preseason progressed, but he still looked good and is more of a two-way defensive tackle than Forston (he has more balance between his usefulness as a run defender and pass rusher). The release of Marcus Forston has certainly surprised me, and I will be even more surprised if the Patriots don’t sign another DT and leave themselves thin with just three defensive tackles on the roster (is Vellano really worthy of being the only backup DT?).