|04.28.12 at 12:03 am ET|
Here’s the transcript of Jake Bequette‘s Q&A with the New England media on Friday night:
Where were you when you got the call? ‘I’m here in my parents’ home in Little Rock, Arkansas.’
Were you surprised at all? ‘I was very excited. I wouldn’t say surprised. I was really anticipating being selected around this time and man, I can’t tell you how excited I was when I got the phone call.’
Did you have any contact with them as part of the pre-draft process? ‘Yeah, yeah I did. They showed some early interest in me at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine and then I had a workout in Fayetteville with them and I got a great feeling from them and I guess I really impressed them.’
Can you tell us something embarrassing about Ryan Mallett? ‘Something embarrassing about Ryan Mallett? Well, how long do you have?’
All night. ‘No, no. Ryan is an awesome guy. I was lucky enough to play with him for three years here in Fayetteville and I can’t wait to join him up there.’
Did you visit Gillette Stadium at all? ‘I’ve never been to Gillette Stadium. No, sir.’
It seems you have some positional versatility. Are you more comfortable at one spot over the other? ‘I feel very comfortable at both. I guess that’s kind of a soft answer, but it’s true. I played the 4-3 end mostly in college, but I also stood up a little bit doing the outside linebacker position in the Senior Bowl and Combine. The more I did it, the more it grew on me, so I feel very comfortable in both. I can’t wait to see what the coaches have in store for me.’
When you had your workout, what did they try to stress to you in terms of what they might be asking of you? Was it that you’ll be standing up a lot, you’ll be going forward? ‘It was actually quite a bit of both. They wanted to see, first of all, my pass rushing ability, my ‘get off’ out of my three-point stance, but also quite a bit of two-point work, working out in coverage, covering the spot drops and doing everything with the linebacker aspect as well.’
It’s interesting how that position has evolved and become two positions that a lot of teams don’t do in college. As you realized you might be an NFL prospect, was there anybody that you studied, knowing that you might have to do this at some point? ‘Absolutely. Every Sunday I would turn on NFL games and it seems like half the teams in the league now at least are running a 3-4 kind of hybrid defense or a 4-3. I know New England is very flexible, and you watch certain players, certain outside linebackers who play standing up and in the three-point stance on passing downs. I’m very excited and if that’s what the coaches want me to do, then I can’t wait to do it.’
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|04.27.12 at 10:59 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots selected Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette with the 90th pick in the draft on Friday night.
A former college teammate of Patriots’ backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, he’s known as a smart and competitive player. The 6-foot-5, 274-pounder started all 13 games for the Razorbacks as a senior and was a second-team All-SEC selection. In addition, he finished his senior year with 32 tackles, including 8.5 for loss and a career-high seven sacks, and tied for the team lead with five quarterback hurries. His team-leading sack total tied for fifth in the SEC, and is tied for the eighth-highest single-season total in Arkansas history.
Labeled as a defensive end, he does have some positional versatility — he’s played all over the defensive line at Arkansas, but was used as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme at the Senior Bowl. A defensive captain the last two years, he’s the third defensive captain the Patriots have drafted with their first four picks in this year’s draft.
When looking at Bequette, one of the things that really stands out is his agility, which can be seen in his 3-cone drill time. He had one of the best times for any defensive end at the combine, finishing at 6.9. (We’ve written about the Patriots affinity for prospects with excellent 3-cone times before.)
|04.27.12 at 10:42 pm ET|
FOXBORO — So often, rookie draft picks are shy, cautious and quiet, showing the occasional grin.
Can’t blame them since they don’t want to say the wrong thing and get off the wrong foot with Bill Belichick.
Defensive end Chandler Jones had no such worries Friday night when he met with reporters in the Gillette Stadium press box.
Asked if he knew anyone on the Patriots or if he had crossed paths with anyone, Jones played it cool.
“I know who they are, I’m a fan,’ Jones said. “That’s one thing I’ll have to get out of fan mode when I see Tom Brady walk by, being like ‘Oh, that was Tom Brady.’ I’m kidding. But I don’t know anyone. I haven’t met anyone. I’m looking forward to meeting all the guys. Like I said, it’s a great opportunity.
Jones showed off his friendly disposition from the moment he walked on the Gillette Stadium field for the first time Friday evening with owner Robert Kraft. That beaming grin continued in his press conference 30 minutes later. But that’s just one side of his personality. After all, he comes from rich athletic bloodlines. His brother Jon Jones is the heavyweight UFC champ. His other brother Arthur Jones plays defensive tackle for the Ravens.
“Both of my brothers were happy,” Chandler Jones said Friday in Foxboro. “My brother, Jon, the light heavyweight champion, he threw water on me. I don’t know if you guys saw it on ESPN, but there was water all over my grey hoodie. He was smiling from ear-to-ear. Everybody was happy. As far as the distance, my mother was actually crying the few nights leading up to the draft because she didn’t know where I was going to go. I could be in Texas, I could be in California. But it’s a three-hour drive. How close it is from my hometown, I could have driven here and this press conference would be over. But my whole family is happy. They’re very supportive. I just thank God for them.”
As matter of fact, it was his brother Jon who bailed him out with a purple shirt when he got stuck in New York City on a flight transfer on his way to New England.
With two big brothers, does his persona change when you’re on the field? Does he become a beast?
“I wouldn’t put a label on myself,” said Jones, who had 10 sacks in four seasons at Syracuse. “I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘Oh, I flip the switch on and off.’ The way I play, I’m relaxed. That’s how I play better; I don’t know if you guys watch film. I’m not going to sit here and call myself a beast or I’m untamed or all that. I don’t get into that at all. I’m the same person all the time. I know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to sit here and talk to the media.”
And when it’s time to play?
“In college, I was double and triple teamed a lot ‘ it’s funny that you brought that up,” Jones said. “I have no expectations as far as what’s going to happen to me at this level. I was told about it ‘ my brother plays for the Ravens ‘ but I really don’t know until I get out there. As far as me being a rookie, my job right now is to know my role. Take whatever I can from whoever, anyone from Dont’a Hightower to all the veterans on that defense and front seven. For me being a rookie, I’m just going to be a sponge and just learn what I can. As far as my jacket, like I said, I didn’t know I was coming here and my brother didn’t have a full suit that fit me. He had suits but his suits stopped like right here [at my elbow]. So I was like, you know what, ‘I’m going to go without the jacket. You just give me a shirt and I’ll just roll it up. Give me some jewelry and I’ll be fine.’”
|04.27.12 at 10:19 pm ET|
Thanks to the Patriots’ PR staff, here’s the Q&A from defensive back Tavon Wilson‘s Q&A with the New England media on Friday evening:
What has this day been like for you? When did you get the phone call? What did you think? “It’s been an exciting day. It’s everything I ever dreamed of. I got the phone call right before they made the pick. It’s just exciting to be a Patriot.”
Heading into the draft, when did you expect to get taken? “I didn’t really know. I was hearing a lot of different things as far as what round and all that stuff. I just tried to focus, keep my head down and just keep on working. I never knew where I was going to be taken, but I just knew it was all over the place. It was out of my hands. I just did everything I can to get drafted as high as possible.”
What round were people telling you? “It was kind of all over the place. A lot of people had a lot of different predictions. I didn’t really pay [any] attention to it. I just worked as hard as I could and great things happened for me.”
When you look at the safety class, it didn’t seem you were as highly rated as some of the other guys out there. Does it come as a surprise to you to go mid-second round? “I feel like I worked hard enough to go as high as anybody. It was out of my hands, so I just did my part. I just prayed and hoped for the best.”
How much pre-draft contact did you have with the Patriots? “I worked out with them before. I pretty much talked to a lot of teams and heard a lot of good things. I worked out for them one time.”
Where did you work out for them? “Illinois.”
You played corner, you played safety, I’m guessing you probably have some special teams experience as well. What position are you most comfortable in doing? What are some of your strengths? “I feel like I can do both things at a very high level but it’s not really up to me what position I play. It’s up to Coach Belichick and the staff. I’m just going to do everything I can to the best of my abilities to do everything I can to contribute to the team.”
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|04.27.12 at 9:24 pm ET|
Thoughts on the third round as the picks come in…
– Are the Colts trying to become the Patriots by loading up on tight ends? The Dwayne Allen pick is a little questionable, but Indianapolis now has the two best tight ends in a very weak draft at the position.
– Great pick by the Rams as St. Louis gets Trumaine Johnson 65th overall. A great talent, a big body and a hard hitter capable of playing corner or safety.
– The Bills reach for T.J. Graham out of NC State, but if the rest of his game comes together to match his speed, he could be dangerous. Cordy Glenn remains their best value pick of the draft.
– The Jaguars take Cal punter Bryan Anger. You really can’t knock the pick too much because he’ll be one of the better punters in the league, but the Jaguars obviously have much bigger fish to fry.
– The Chargers make LSU’s Brandon Taylor the third safety taken behind Mark Barron and Harrison Smith, but don’t be surprised if some other defensive backs taken (Tavon Wilson, Trumaine Johnson) end up being moved to safety.
– The Dolphins become the first team not named the Colts to draft a tight end by getting Missouri’s Michael Egnew. He’s a good receiver with good size at 6-foot-5 1/8.
– Ironic that the Bengals end up drafting Mohamed Sanu. The Rutgers receiver got a call during the first round when the Bengals were on the clock Thursday saying it was the team and that they were going to pick him. It was a prank, and Sanu and his family celebrated only to see the team pick Kevin Zeitler. Two rounds later, Sanu is indeed a Bengal.
– Good move by the Eagles to get Nick Foles out of Arizona. Given the injury history of Michael Vick, he could get some snaps early on in his career.
– Give it up for Regina tackle Akiem Hicks, who becomes the latest Canadian player to be drafted. Baylor’s Danny Watkins was a first-round pick of the Eagles last year, while the Pats drafted Nick Kaczur out of Toledo in 2005.
– Jake Bequette becomes the latest pass-rusher brought in by the Pats. The Arkansas defensive end had 10 sacks as a senior. He stands at 6-foot-4 5/8 and 274 pounds. Perhaps he helps replace Mark Anderson, who inked a deal with the Bills in free agency. Pretty clean bill of health for Bequette, though he missed three games as a junior with a hamstring injury.
– Finally, the Colts take a receiver. Florida International’s T.Y. Hilton is the man, and he can contribute as a returner as well. That’s two tight ends and a wide receiver for the Colts since drafting Andrew Luck.
– I had honestly forgotten the Raiders existed. That’s what happens during the draft when you trade important currency for a shaky quarterback. All kidding aside, the Raiders wrapped up the second day by making Utah tackle Tony Bergstrom their first pick of the draft.
|04.27.12 at 9:15 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots made their third trade of the draft on Friday night, sending the No. 62 overall pick — their second second-round selection of the draft — to Green Bay for a third-round choice (No. 90 overall) and a fifth-round pick (No. 163 overall). The two picks that were acquired in the deal are the only two remaining picks the Patriots currently have in the draft.
On Thursday, the Patriots sent their 27th overall pick (which was acquired in a deal last year with the Saints) and a third-round pick to the Bengals for No. 21. With that, they picked up Chandler Jones. Then, they shipped No. 31 and a fourth-round pick to the Broncos in exchange for No. 25, which they used to select Dont’a Hightower.
|04.27.12 at 8:32 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The last defensive back of note the Patriots took out of Illinois was Eugene Wilson in 2003. They went back to the well on Friday, picking defensive back Tavon Wilson out of Illinois with the 48th selection of the draft.
A 6-foot, 205-pound defensive back, the 22-year-old was named honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2011 after finishing the year with 81 tackles (51 solo) in 13 starts. For his collegiate career, the former team captain ended his college career with 50 games played, 214 total tackles (141 solo), 12.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions and 22 pass breakups. He has some positional versatility, having played both corner and safety as a collegian.
The first defensive back taken by the Patriots in this draft, he was an unheralded prospect coming out of college, so much so that he did not receive an invite to the combine. Named the team’s outstanding defensive back at the annual postseason banquet, he will likely have to prove himself on special teams before he starts to enter into New England’s rotation at defensive back.
There’s precious little video of Wilson available, but here’s a quick piece we just found on YouTube: