Opening day countdowns are great. So are player profiles. Here at Musket Fire, we decided to combine them and create a Week 1 countdown-oriented, jersey number-dictated player profile series. A few days ago, we looked at No. 74 Trey Flowers, and before that it was No. 76 Sebastian Vollmer. Because today marks 72 days until the New England Patriots open 2015, we are profiling No. 72, defensive tackle Joe Vellano.
A proud member of his family water and waste company The Vellano Corporation, Vellano was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Patriots in 2013. Through two seasons, the Maryland product has totaled 60 combined tackles and three sacks.
Vellano saw more action in 2013, when he recorded 54 tackles and two sacks. Primarily a member of the practice squad last season, Vellano got called up for the AFC Championship Game after the Patriots cut tight end Steve Maneri.
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Quickness off the snap and good awareness are the strengths of Vellano’s game, according to this pre-draft scouting report. If it weren’t for his surprising play in college, Vellano probably would be doing the family business full-time.
The departure of Vince Wilfork opens the door for Vellano to claim a bigger role on the interior of the defensive line. However, considering Vellano’s status as a practice squad player last season, as well as the addition of Malcom Brown to the mix, it isn’t likely that Vellano will see much in the way of playing time this season.
In case you missed them, here are the profiles for No. 77 Nate Solder, No. 80 Danny Amendola, No. 82 Josh Boyce, No. 84 Brian Tyms, No. 85 Jake Bequette, No. 86 A.J. Derby, No. 87 Rob Gronkowski, No. 88 Scott Chandler, No. 90 Zach Moore and No. 91 Jamie Collins.
Be sure to check back on Musket Fire tomorrow morning as we celebrate 71 days until Week 1 by profiling No. 71, offensive lineman Cameron Fleming.