As the time before the start of training camp dwindles down, we continue our look at the players who will be expected to make an impact on this year's squad in our Nuggets series. Today, we focus on defensive tackle Mike Patterson.
1. Mike Patterson was the Eagles' first-round pick in 2005 (31st selection overall). Since 2007, the Eagles run defense ranks fifth in the NFL. In 2007, Patterson had 114 tackles and joined defensive end Trent Cole to become the first pair of Eagles defensive linemen to record 100-plus tackles in a single season since 1991 when four Eagles including Reggie White did so. Patterson was named to the USA Today All-Joe Team in 2007 and 2008.
2. Patterson has never missed a game in his NFL career playing in all 80 regular season (70 starts) and six playoff games (six starts). He is second among all NFL defensive tackles with 80 consecutive games played (Darnell Dockett, Arizona, 96 games).
3. He credits wrestling in high school with providing the foundation for the technique he uses today against opposing offensive linemen. Said the former all-state honoree, "Wrestling taught me how to stay low. It's the same technique as on the defensive line," Patterson said. "You have to stay low and use your hands. I was originally an offensive lineman in high school, but as soon as football coaches saw how aggressive I was when I wrestled, they moved me over to defense."
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 12:20 p.m., July 22