It appears that our calls for New England Patriots head coach/general manager Bill Belichick to sign a defensive tackle have been heard. Your new Patriots defensive tackle is Andre Neblett.
Let’s get to know this man a bit more. He is 25 years old and attended Temple University. Neblett went undrafted in 2010, likely because he went to a small school, and is undersized (6-foot, 295 pounds). He played with the Carolina Panthers between 2010 and 2012.
Neblett’s biggest impact came in 2011 when he appeared in 12 games, drawing four starts. In that time, Neblett was able to record two-and-a-half sacks, but he was unable to carry that momentum into the 2012 season. Part of the reason that he couldn’t be as productive was because he was suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL‘s performance enhancing drug policy. After that, he appeared in 11 games (two starts) and only recorded a half-sack in that time.
So when it came time for Neblett to be tendered as a restricted free agent, Panthers general manager David Gettleman predictably declined. Neblett then became an unrestricted free agent and chose to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, he was unable to make it through final cuts.
Nevertheless, this was a solid signing by Belichick. Neblett might not have a big name, but he is young and injury-free. Plus he spent most of his offseason with Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano, who runs a similar ship to Belichick. Neblett may not make an immediate impact, but he will provide solid depth down the line, with a chance to possibly become a starter.
Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.