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Patriots Rookie Partial Transcripts - 5/12/2016

Read partial transcripts from Patriots defensive rookies during media access on Thursday, May 12, 2016.



(On how it feels to be in his position)
"It's a great opportunity to be here with the New England Patriots. I couldn't be more happy right now."

(On what the rookie mini-camp was like)
"It was different, but it was definitely another day and another way to learn, so I liked it."

(On any eye-opening moments)
"Just making that adjustment to being a professional. You've got to really set yourself up [to be] in that mindset."

(On your impressions of New England coming from Hawaii)
"It's definitely my first time on the East Coast. I like it so far, no complaints over here. I like the atmosphere and I like the small town of Foxborough, so it's going good."

(On what it's like to have Eastern Illinois alum Jimmy Garoppolo around)
"It's obviously nice to have someone that you know here, but all the guys are great. It's not just Jimmy. The rookie class – all the guys are great. Just having everyone here is awesome."

(On whether he knew the Patriots were interested in him)
"A little bit, but nothing too crazy. It's just good to be here now, finally, with Jimmy and the team.


(On playing against Patriots DL Woodrow Hamilton in high school, being college teammates and now being with him in New England)
"I really didn't know him that well. We played against each other in high school, but watching him on tape, I just knew he was going to play in college, but I didn't know where he was going. Later on, after we both signed with Ole Miss, we kind of got to know each other and had great careers together. Shortly after I signed and found out I was coming here, I saw he was coming, and I couldn't be more excited."

(On who came out ahead in the high school rivalry)
"I won, but we lost the next week [in the playoffs] so neither of us won a state championship, so I guess it really didn't matter."

(On what it's like having Woodrow Hamilton with him in New England)
"It can be tough coming to a place you've never been before, but you've got someone here you know and can relate with a little bit, so us being here together is a plus for the both of us to lean on each other, help each other and kind of get through some of the tough times." 

(On whether he has any sympathy for the other rookies who don't have the relationship that he and Hamilton have)
"I think all of us have great relationships with each other at this point. Every day our coaches are preaching that we're interacting with each other and make sure we're building great relationships. I think our rookie group is a really tight-knit group because we hang out and kind of help each other out a lot." 



(On not being drafted and choosing to sign with the Patriots)
"I think the draft is kind of a strenuous process for everybody, but I think at the end of the day it's about finding a team, the team finding you and find the best fit for you. I think my decision to come here was a great decision. It's a great organization from top down and I'm happy to be here."

(On how many teams were interested in signing him)
"There were some teams I was talking to, but I think once I got a chance to talk with the coaches and talk with everyone in this organization I knew this would be a great spot for me. They preach here that you get what you earn here, so it's kind of one of those places that as long you put the hard work in and dedication you'll get the results."

(On whether he is familiar with CB Malcolm Butler's story and if that was something he considered when choosing New England)
"Definitely. Like I said, this organization is one of the best put together organizations. They truly believe that you get what you earn, so you come here, you put in the work, you put in the time and preparation and the rest is up to the coaches to make their decisions. I think this is a great organization."

(On playing in the SEC for four years and how it helped prepare him for the next level)
"The SEC is a good league, but the NFL is a whole different level. I think you have to come in here, be humble and start from the bottom. Learn from a lot of the veteran guys and take it day-by-day and be the best you can be."

(On if he got a call from Coach Bill Belichick or a positional coach after the draft)
"I talked with several people after the draft that kind of helped me make my decision and understand that this is a fair opportunity and a place for me."

(On his 40-yard dash times and if he has always been fast)
"Yeah, pretty much. Starting at a young age, playing football since I was four just outrunning people and then I got a little bit older and people started saying I should try track. I started running track when I was about eight and kind of stuck with it since then, so I've always kind of had that itch to be fast."


(On how the process went after the draft had finished and teams were courting him)
"Right now, it's like Coach [Belichick] always says, 'It doesn't matter about how you get here, it matters what you do when you get here', and right now I'm just enjoying every opportunity and chance that I can have right now."

(On if it serves as motivation that the Patriots' organization has a reputation for giving less-heralded guys a chance to make the team)
"Right now, I would have to say every opportunity counts. Like I said before, it doesn't matter how you get here, it just matters what you do when you get here. If the opportunity is handed to you then you do the best you can with the opportunity that's given to you."

(On if the story of a player like Malcolm Butler can serve as inspiration)
"All the guys serve as inspiration to me. I'm still getting used to the culture. I'm still getting used to Foxborough and it's new to me so I look up to all those guys in the back end, in the front end, all of them. I'm just learning each and every day, trying to be the best player that I can be."



(On his experience with the Patriots thus far)
"It's great to be a Patriot. Work this hard and glad to be a Patriot. It's a life dream and we're working hard day in and day out."

(On changing jersey number from 51 to 52)
"I don't ask [any] questions. I just do what I'm asked to do and whatever number they put me in is great. I'm just glad to be a Patriot."

(On if he knew about the player, Jerod Mayo, who wore 51 before him)
"Yeah, but you know, once again I'm just blessed to be a Patriot and it's just all fun. At the same time, we are working hard. Everyone out there, we're grinding, but at the same time [football] is something I have been playing my whole life so I still keep it in the fun aspect and go to work every day with a smile on my face and leave with the same thing. No matter if the pressure is up or down, you're taking one play at a time and you come in the next day with your smile back on and ready to get back to work."

(On if he has been asking veterans a lot of questions about learning the playbook and defense)
"Our whole Patriot team, we're a family. Any guy - coaches, support staff, anyone – you can reach out to. It's a family, a brotherhood and that's why I'm just glad to be a Patriot."

(On learning the multiple situations on defense and if that's one of the bigger challenges thus far)
"This is what you dream to play in. Just being a Patriot will get you ready for [the challenges]. We're just all out here getting ready and with the situations, we are just handling them day in and day out and just working hard."



(On if playing for a coach with NFL coaching experience such as Bo Pelini has prepared him at all for the next level)
"It helped a lot. Bo's system in Nebraska – it was a real good system – but we're past college. I'm in New England now. We're just ready to get it going here."

(On what has been the biggest impression the coaching staff has made on him thus far)
"Just knowing everything, the learning experience, the brains behind everything; that's the biggest thing with me. It's obviously a learning experience for me to get better and to enhance my knowledge. I think that's the best thing that we're hitting on."

(On what he thinks his biggest weakness is)
"I have a lot of weaknesses. I'm working every day trying to get better. The coaches are bringing us along. We're getting the best coaching, so I think all of my weaknesses will be worked on, definitely, throughout this whole offseason."

(On how much time he spent in the weight room to develop the power he has)
"My legs have always been a strong point of me, so just focusing on squats, being strong with my base. I played defensive line so that's like one of the most important things to have. It's just one of those things that I focused on and tried to get better at every day."

(On if there is anyone he models his game after)
"I watched a lot of guys, everybody in the league. [I] try to learn different things from different guys and that's how you get better."

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