Jeremy Ebert, a 5-11 speedster out of Northwestern, was tabbed by New England with its final pick two weeks ago. But unlike Julian Edelman, who was similarly chosen in the seventh-round back in 2009, Ebert made his transition from quarterback to receiver went he jumped from high school to college – not college to the pros like the Patriots jack-of-all-trades.
"Having quarterback experience does help you understand the game from a different perspective," Ebert said as he prepared for rookie mini-camp at Gillette Stadium. "As a receiver, I try to be more cognizant of not constantly complaining to the quarterback about being open and wanting the ball all the time. Viewing the game through a quarterback's eyes is definitely helpful in terms of being a receiver."
Ebert enjoyed a highly productive career with the Wildcats, working almost exclusively out of the slot similar to the manner in which Wes Welker has terrorized NFL defenses. It's a role he definitely envisions himself in and he's looking forward to soaking up as much as he can from all the Patriots wideouts.
"All the wide receivers here, they're all great," Ebert said. "They're playing in the NFL, so learning from all these guys is going to be awesome. I'm just really excited to meet them and be a sponge and soak up all I can."
Despite Ebert's background at such a prestigious academic school as Northwestern, he admitted to being a tad intimidated by the prospect of learning the Patriots cumbersome offensive system while also finishing up his studies.
"It's stressful but it comes with the territory," he said. "I want to get my degree so I am happy to stay there and get that. It's Northwestern, you kind of have to take it seriously. School comes first, not athletics. It's a great academic school and I wanted to get a degree from the best place I could. I know that football is not going to last forever."
Interestingly, Ebert donned a sweatshirt with the number 80 on it. He was predictably asked if he was aware of the digits' history in New England, and while he was he displayed some rookie nerves when answering.
"I know it was Brown, Tim Brown," he said, confusing the former Raiders perennial Pro Bowler with Mr. Patriot, Troy Brown before immediately correcting himself. "Troy Brown. He was obviously a great player. I don't even know if this is going to be my number. They just gave me a sweatshirt and I put it on."