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Patriots pick voices bold words

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Defensive tackle Malcom Brown, the New England Patriots’ first-round pick, certainly isn’t lacking for confidence. The versatile, athletic big man will have a chance to fill the vacancy left by departed Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork.

Asked on his introductory conference call with the New England media if he had a message for Patriots fans, Brown set his goals pretty high for his career in Foxborough.

“You guys drafted me, so you’re about to get the best player you’ve ever drafted,” Brown said. “So just be ready for when I touch the field.”

Brown said the only thing he knows about Boston is the Celtics, but he’s well aware that he joining a well-oiled, championship machine.

“It means a lot,” Brown said of going to the defending Super Bowl champions at the end of the first round. “You go to a winning team, contributing to something that’s already great and trying to add whatever I can to the program. It’s a great feeling.”

–Geneo Grissom spent a short time as a tight end at Oklahoma before settling into a productive, versatile role on the Sooners defense. Still, the athletic prospect worked out as a tight end at his school’s pro day and, according to head coach Bill Belichick, was as impressive in that role as anyone could have expected.

“We’re not trying to make him a tight end, but I’d say that his workout as a tight end is probably as good of a tight-end workout as we saw all year,” Belichick said of his third-round pick. “This guy can run, he can catch. If you didn’t know he didn’t play tight end, you would look at the workout and say, ‘That’s a pretty good looking tight end.'”

–Players are often asked to describe their playing styles when they are first drafted. That was the case with Arkansas defensive lineman Trey Flowers, one of New England’s fourth-round picks. He was also asked about his high energy playing style and his answer was unexpected.

“I actually grew up and fell in love with the game watching “(The) Waterboy” so I’ve got that visualizing the check mentality,” Flowers said of the Adam Sandler football-based comedy. “He just taught me to go crazy out there so I just take myself to a place and just attack as you say.”

Flowers went on to explain that early in his playing career he actually modeled his on-field style after the waterboy-turned-star-defender from the movie.

“I think I tried to emulate that in high school and middle school and it worked out,” Flowers said of the Bobby Boucher character. “I actually did that in middle school one time. I hit somebody and did the little “Waterboy” shriek. I kind of have fun with it a lot.”

–In 2013, Patriots fourth-round guard selection Tre Jackson lined up just to the right of now-Patriots center Bryan Stork. In 2015, the duo could very well be reunited in the middle of the New England offensive line.

“It’s a great feeling to be alongside with one of my old players, one of my old guys that I know so well,” Jackson said of joining Stork in Foxborough.

Like Stork, Jackson was heavily scouted by legendary former Patriots offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia. The former assistant held a consulting role leading up to the draft in New England the last two seasons, and clearly signed off on a couple Seminole prospects. Part of that is the fact that Scarnecchia has a long relationship with Florida State long-time offensive line coach Rick Trickett. The two have similar coaching styles and that, Scarnecchia told Jackson, could help the young guard transition to life in the NFL in New England.

“Pretty much work hard,” Jackson said of Scarnecchia’s advice. “He was telling me to continue to work hard and that the coach that I had in coach Trickett was a great coach. Coach Trickett was coaching the techniques and stuff that he was coaching, continue to believe and trust in the techniques, take them to the field and continue to work hard.”

A closer look at the Patriots’ picks:

–Round 1/32 – Malcom Brown, DT, 6-2, 320, Texas

Projected by many to go in the middle of the first round, New England pounced on the big, athletic, versatile defensive lineman who bears many similarities to the guy he’ll be expected to replace, former Pro Bowler Vince Wilfork.

–Round 2/64 – Jordan Richards, S, 5-11, 210, Stanford

Richards was the surprise pick and most questioned selection of the Patriots’ draft weekend. He was universally considered a late-round pick and little more than a NFL backup as a prospect. But once again, Belichick proved he cares little what others think and took a guy who at best will compete for rotational reps at safety and special teams action.

–Round 3/97 – Geneo Grissom, DE, 6-4, 252, Oklahoma

Grissom was a versatile playmaker who moved all the round the defense in his career for the Sooners and could have a similarly diverse role in New England. At the very least, Grissom adds depth to the linebacker group as well as the edge of the defensive front that will be expected to serve as the strength of the Patriots’ defense this fall.

–Round 4/101 – Trey Flowers, DE, 6-2, 266, Arkansas

Flowers started for three-plus seasons for the Razorbacks, displaying the ability to stuff the run as well as get after the quarterback with some efficiency. He will push the returning talent at the bottom of the depth chart among Patriots defensive ends.

–Round 4/111 – Tre’ Jackson, G, 6-4, 330, Florida State

Jackson will join former Seminole teammate Bryan Stork on the interior New England line. As was the case a year ago with Stork, Jackson should compete for a starting job as a rookie as the Patriots look to get younger and more stout at the guard position.

–Round 4/131 – Shaq Mason, G, 6-1, 300, Georgia Tech

New England added a second interior lineman with Mason, coming out of the run-heavy option attack at Tech. Shorter than ideal, he’s a power run blocker who could compete at guard (where he started in college) or simply be an interior line backup at the next level.

–Round 5/166 – Joe Cardona, LS, 6-3, 236, Navy

Cardona was arguably the best long snapping prospect in the draft, but his military commitments could keep him from full-time football until 2017. New England certainly has a need at the position and Belichick’s ties to Navy might be an asset as Cardona looks to balance football and his military obligations.

–Round 6/178 – Matthew Wells, LB, 6-2, 215, Mississippi State

Wells is an undersized, speedy linebacker who will likely have to transition to a hybrid safety role, while his best chance to make the team and contribute will likely come on special teams.

–Round 6/202 – A.J. Derby, TE, 6-4, 255, Arkansas

A converted quarterback with just one year of tight-end experience, Derby is a developmental project with intriguing size and athletic ability who will be fighting for a job as a backup or special teams option.

–Round 7/247 – Darryl Roberts, CB, 6-0, 182, Marshall

Roberts is a long corner with above average height and impressive speed. He’s raw and certainly isn’t NFL ready, but given the Patriots’ needs at the position, Roberts will have his chances to prove his worth this summer.

–Round 7/253 – Xzavier Dickson, LB, 6-3, 260, Alabama

Dickson is an edge tweener out of Nick Saban’s familiar scheme with the versatility to play the run and the pass, but lacking the talent to be elite in either area. With three picks of a similar build, Dickson will be battling for a role in a crowded depth chart on the edge of the defense.


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