SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Patriots

February 2, 2012

A look at key New England Patriots

(Continued)

Nate Solder, RT (77), 6-8, 319, 1st season, Colorado

Pretty good rookie season, took over as starter when Sebastian Vollmer was out for season opener ... Projected as future left tackle in New England ... Huge wingspan, hard to get around, but footwork can be shaky ... Will be tested by New York's pass rushers.

DEFENSE

Shaun Ellis, LDE (94), 6-5, 290, 12th season, Tennessee

Like Waters, spent previous 11 seasons with one team, Jets, then was enticed to sign as free agent in Foxborough ... Situational player who has enough burst left to get to passer ... Solid against the run ... A quiet leader and strong locker room presence.

Vince Wilfork, LDT (75), 6-2, 325, 8th season, Miami, Fla.

Talk might be about Giants' defensive linemen, but Wilfork has been as good as anyone in postseason ... Played more than usual against Ravens, who couldn't block him with two men in AFC title game ... Has 2 1/2 sacks in playoffs ... Will challenge middle of Giants' line and is key to shutting down run game.

Kyle Love, RDT (74), 6-1, 310, 2nd season, Mississippi State

Has played well stacking the middle ... Situational player, comes out on many passing downs ... Made 55 tackles, had three sacks during the season ... Made Patriots as rookie free agent in 2010.

Mark Anderson, RDE (95), 6-4, 255, 6th season, Alabama

Career got off to big start when he was in Chicago, then fizzled ... Joined Patriots this year as free agent and shared sacks lead with now-injured Andre Carter with 10 ... Good off the edge and on stunts.

Rob Ninkovich, OLB (50), 6-2, 255, 6th season, Purdue

Was waived by both New Orleans and Miami before he signed in New England as free agent in 2009 ... Had two INTs in win over Jets that began 10-game winning string ... Played some tight end in college ... Also has done some long snapping, was special teams player before becoming starter at LB.

Jerod Mayo, MLB (51), 6-1, 245, 4th season, Tennessee

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