The Arizona Cardinals announced on Friday that they were awarded a waiver claim and added defensive tackle Christian Tupou to the offseason roster. He had been placed on waivers by the San Francisco 49ers.
Tupou (6-2, 300) played in five games with the Chicago Bears as a rookie last season and had three tackles. He entered the league with Chicago as an undrafted rookie free agent out of USC and split his rookie season between the Bears active roster and practice squad. He spent a week on the Colts practice squad in the postseason before signing with the San Francisco 49ers. At USC, Tupou played in 42 career games (33 starts) and had 53 tackles, seven tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.
Arizona has an offseason goal to add physicality and depth to the defensive line.
With Alameda Ta'amu recovering from a torn ACL, there is little experience at nose tackle behind starter Dan Williams, who enters the final year of his contract. With Tupou, he joins Williams, Ta'amu, 2013 practice squad player Anthony McCloud and undrafted rookies Bruce Gaston and Justin Renfrow at the position.
Last season, the Cardinals enjoyed great value from their two awarded waiver claims last year. They acquired Bradley Sowell, who started 12 games at left tackle in 2013, and nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu, who was a key cog in the middle of the league's number one run defense.
Sowell, although he was not fantastic at the position, was still valuable, as his development allowed the team to get rid of Levi Brown. He was a very inexpensive option as a starting left tackle, holding down the fort until the offseason, when the team signed free agent tackle Jared Veldheer.
Tupou is not going to wow you athletically. His 2013 draft profile from NFL.com says this:
Tupou is a try-hard, unathletic, low-production player, but also a high-character type nose tackle. He has been a presence on the USC frontlines for four years, though he struggled returning from a year-long hiatus this past year after taking a redshirt year due to a torn ACL. Tupou has late-round value for a team looking to select an active player for the inside of their d-line.
He has a motor that doesn't stop and he plays with good technique. He just won't make any plays in the open field. But those traits make him a good depth nose tackle, who can also contribute to special teams.