The New England Patriots added depth to their defensive line this week by signing former Clemson defensive tackle Albert Huggins to their 53-man roster.
Huggins is listed at 6-foot-3 and 305 pounds. He is no stranger to big games having won two College Football Playoff national championships with Clemson. He played four seasons with the Tigers and was a key member on their dominant defensive front, yet he went undrafted in 2019. Huggins spent time on the Houston Texans' practice squad earlier this season before being signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and playing in four games (and seeing snaps on both defense and special teams with Philly).
The Patriots picked him up off waivers, and head coach Bill Belichick provided some insight into the move during his media conference call Tuesday.
“He’s obviously a young player, rookie player that we evaluated last year in the draft out of Clemson,” Belichick said. “He’s a pretty big kid -- 6-3ish, somewhere in that ballpark, over 300 pounds. He had a little bit of playing time for Philadelphia and was with Houston earlier in the year, so we’ve had a couple different looks at him. We only had five defensive linemen on our roster, and he was on waivers, so we’ll take a look at him and see how it goes. I don’t know.”
The Patriots' front seven has played well this season, highlighted by an excellent campaign from defensive tackle Adam Butler. New England's defense as a whole has tallied 40 sacks, which is tied for the fourth-most in the NFL and 10 more than the Patriots had all of last season. Huggins totaled 7.5 sacks over his final three seasons with Clemson.
Bringing in Huggins also provides more depth at an important position. He joins Butler, Danny Shelton, Lawrence Guy and rookie Byron Cowart as the defensive tackles on the Patriots roster. It's still unclear, however, if Huggins will see the field Sunday during the Patriots' pivotal Week 14 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.
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