Patriots Add More Bulk Upfront With 300-Pound DT

Getty New England Patriots Position: Defensive tackle Personal information Born: November 29, 1991 (age 28) Navarre, Florida Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) Weight: 303 lb (137 kg) Career information High school: Fort Walton Beach (Fort Walton Beach, Florida) College: Illinois NFL Draft: 2013 / Round: 4 / Pick: 100 Career history Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013–2016) Detroit Lions (2017) Miami Dolphins (2018) Philadelphia Eagles (2019) Jacksonville Jaguars (2019) New England Patriots (2020–present)* * Offseason and/or practice squad member only Roster status: Practice squad Career NFL statistics as of Week 16, 2019 Total tackles: 193 Sacks: 10.5 Forced fumbles: 1 Fumble recoveries: 3

The NFL’s trade deadline has passed, but it hasn’t the New England Patriots from shoring up parts of their roster. On Saturday, the Patriots made a flurry of moves, no least of which secured another big body for its defensive line.

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Patriots Sign Akeem Spence to the Practice Squad

GettySpence, 28, is a veteran of seven NFL seasons with Tampa Bay (2013-16), Detroit (2017), Miami (2018), Philadelphia (2019), and Jacksonville (2019). The 6-foot-1, 303-pounder originally entered the NFL as a fourth-round draft pick (100th overall) by Tampa Bay out of Illinois in the 2013 NFL Draft. He has played in 103 regular-season games with 57 starts and totaled 195 tackles, 10½ sacks one forced fumble, and three fumble recoveries.

Spence was considered a promising prospect coming out of Illinois in the 2013 NFL Draft when he was taken with the 100th overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s been incredibly durable throughout his career and has always been a contributor. Spence spent the first four years of his career with the Bucs.

He played in all 16 games in three of those seasons but missed half the year in 2015. Spence signed with the Detroit Lions in 2017 and played in all 16 games there. In 2018, he started in all 16 games for the Miami Dolphins. In 2019, he played in 15 games for two different teams (Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles). The Patriots are giving him an opportunity to potentially make an impact down the stretch of the 2020 season as the line has struggled to remain healthy.

When Spence was drafted, here’s what Bleacher Report’s Dan Hope wrote about his tools:

At only 6’1” with 33 1/2” arms, Spence’s height and length are less than ideal for a defensive lineman. Spence is a decent but unspectacular athlete. He does not have considerable quickness or explosiveness. He runs fairly well for a defensive tackle (he ran a 5.15 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine), but is not going to track down many plays in the open field with his running. His best physical asset is his strength. He put measurable proof of his strength on display at the combine, putting up 37 repetitions of 225 pounds in the bench press, the third-most of any player at the event.

What Brought on Spence Signing?

The ever-durable Adam Butler was deemed inactive for Sunday’s game against the Texans, which may have precipitated the Spence signing after he was in for a tryout earlier in the week. Spence won’t be eligible to play on Sunday, but if he can become acclimated and Butler is out for an extended period, perhaps Spence could be on-hand for the Week 12 meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, if for no other reason than to provide depth.

To put it plainly, Spence is not a game-changer. At this point, the Patriots would be thrilled if he can simply provide options in the event his name is called.

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