One year ago, Marc Megna was a sixth-round draft pick out of Richmond for the New York Jets. Despite seeing most of his college snaps as a defensive lineman, Megna was converted to linebacker by the Jets.
The transition didn't go smoothly in training camp, and Megna was released prior to the season. He was picked up by New England and signed to the team's practice squad. Now Megna is gaining game experience at linebacker for the Barcelona Dragons in NFL Europe.
"Initially coming into the NFL, it was a lot to be placed on my shoulders as far as learning the linebacker position. The Jets expected me to come in and play right away at a position I hadn't played and a position that I knew very little about," Megna said. "I've learned so much [in Barcelona] in terms of reps every day in practice, covering tight ends, covering backs, and picking up pass coverages in general. For me the most important thing right now is getting a feel for pass coverages and responsibilities. I feel much more comfortable now than I did before."
Through four games with the Dragons, Megna is tied for third on the team with 15 tackles. He also had one pass defensed and one special teams tackle.
Megna said spending a year on the Patriots practice squad provided valuable lessons for him. After watching and learning from veterans Tedy Bruschi, Chris Slade and Marty Moore during the 1999 season, Megna said he was ahead of the other linebackers on the Barcelona squad.
"There are so many things that you don't know from the coaches. They teach you the Xs and Os and tell you what is expected of you, but the other players teach and show you the little tips and ways around things," Megna said. "Having those veterans around helped me out a lot. I came over here knowing a lot more than the other [linebackers] here because I was fortunate enough to have those veterans around for a year."
While at Richmond, Megna was a four-year starter. He was All-America as a senior when he recorded 74 tackles and 13 sacks. In his college career, Megna posted 28 sacks, one interception, and one fumble recovery. Barcelona Head Coach Jack Bicknell says in time that Megna can be a big player in the NFL.
"Marc Megna is the kind of guy that you just enjoy coaching. He just wants you to help him," Bicknell said. "He wants to learn, and he has some learning to do. I told him if he could go out there and not have to think and just play, he could be absolutely great. By that I mean he's got to know instinctively his drops and his assignments. He's getting that now. Once all of that stuff is out of his head, he's going to be super."