Longevity of nose tackles in focus

Pro Football Weekly senior editor Eric Edholm files an entry today as part of a scouting report series on 15 key players scheduled to become free agents. The topic is Vince Wilfork and Edholm covers it from all angles.

Edholm brings up one aspect that hasn't been heavily dissected here: The longevity of nose tackles.

"Although Wilfork remains in his prime at 28, turning 29 at midseason, many nose tackles who sustain as much wear as he does tend to fall off quickly into their 30s with extended snaps," Edholm writes. "The Ted Washingtons and Pat Williamses of the world are the exceptions to the rule."

While Wilfork has seemingly done everything asked of him in his six years with the Patriots, one aspect to consider in any extension is how long he would sustain his level of play. Edholm notes that the overall risk of signing Wilfork is "low to moderate", but this would be the primary risk a team would assume in signing him.

"He hasn't shown much of an injury history through his career, but the risk is that he might not be nearly as effective on the back end of a five- or six-year deal as he would be on the front end," Edholm writes.