LINEBACKER Ja'whaun Bentley
Q: Where were you when you got the call and what kind of reaction did you have?
JB: I was at home down here in Maryland. We were just all sitting around, gathered around each other. I just wanted to make sure I was with family. The whole process was good. We were just making sure we were having a good time and when I got the call and I saw the Massachusetts [area code] on my phone, it was a surreal moment. I'm excited.
Q: Is the fifth round about where you expected to be drafted?
JB: I definitely came in with [the mindset] that it didn't really matter. I just wanted it to be - I just wanted my name called at the end of the day. It didn't really matter. There's a lot of different speculation and things like that. I'm just excited to be in the NFL.
Q: How would you describe your game for those who don't know you?
JB: I would describe myself as a thumper - definitely a physical football player. I would say that's a thing that a linebacker must have, and along with that, I've always had the [inaudible], and I always just looked to play my role, whatever it may be. So, I'm definitely excited to be at a team that roles are definitely a big thing.
Q: What is your weight right now and what weight would you like to be at to play in the NFL?
JB: I would want to play at any weight that I need to be to be successful at whatever job I'm asked to do. Whatever that may be, I'm just going to go with it.
Q: Were you surprised that it was the Patriots that came calling or did they show a lot of interest in you throughout this process?
JB: I mean, I talked to a lot of teams throughout the process. The Patriots were definitely one of them. I didn't really know what to expect. I was just going through the process and just making sure I was ready for whoever called. It being the Patriots is just icing on the cake.
Q: How much do you think your experience at the Senior Bowl helped you?
JB: Definitely. I think it was definitely a good thing for me to go up there and be able to play a different position than usual, and I was excited to do it because I could show my versatility, so that was a big thing for me. I feel like I did a really good job.
Q: In what way did you show your versatility? What was the difference between the way you were used at Purdue and how they used you at the Senior Bowl?
JB: At Purdue I was playing a lot of off-the-ball linebacker and a little bit on the line of scrimmage. At the Senior Bowl I was almost exclusively on the line of scrimmage, so it was kind of different for me, so I was excited and I feel like I did well.
Q: Do you feel like you could plan on the line of scrimmage at the next level?
JB: I feel like I could do just about anything, so anything the team needs me to do, I'm there.
Q: What did it mean it to you to be a three-time captain at Purdue?
JB: It definitely means a lot. It means a lot, No. 1, because the players select it, and especially my first time being a captain as a sophomore. That really was a big deal because you're leading guys who are sometimes five years older than you and for them to trust you with that kind of responsibility definitely shows you how much they believe in you and what they think you're capable of.
Q: What's your personal record on the bench press and how much does that strength play into your game?
JB: I would say, to answer the second question, my strength definitely plays a big role. Like I said, I consider myself kind of a thumper kind of guy, and with that you have to have some burst of power with it, so I would say lifting is definitely a big part of it. As far as bench press, I've always been a good bencher and things like that. I'm pretty much like a gym rat. I love working out and things like that. As far as bench, I did 31 [reps]. The most I've done is probably 36 - 36 or 38, around there. I just love working out so that's a big deal and I feel like that's definitely put me in the great position that I am today.
Q: A lot of times, when you hear someone described as a "thumper," people will ask how well they run. What was your best 40 time?
JB: I would say 4.64. A 4.64 is definitely my best 40 time throughout this process. I felt like I could have been a lot faster, but I mean, now really it doesn't [inaudible] that much. So, now I'm just excited to be where I am.
Q: After playing on the edge at the Super Bowl, did teams show interest in you at the outside or as a pass rusher? Or was most of the interest as an inside linebacker?
JB: I would say at the linebacker position, you kind of have to - being versatile is definitely important, so teams really didn't get into whether or not they wanted me on the ball, off the ball. They were just mainly [talking about] just the linebacker in general, so that's what I was making sure I was able to do - just about a lot of things.
Q: Have you spent much time in Massachusetts or New England?
JB: No, not really. I've never really been down there to Boston or spent a lot of time, but I'm excited. I'm very excited.
Q: Have you had a chance to see how the Patriots use their linebackers? Do you have any thoughts about guys like Dont'a Hightower or Rob Ninkovich, a former Purdue guy?
JB: Oh yes, for sure. I've definitely watched a lot of football, so I've seen a lot of guys from the Patriots, even back to Tedy Bruschi, Adalius Thomas days. Especially Rosevelt Colvin, like you said, Rob Ninkovich, guys like that - I definitely watched a lot of ball, watch some guys play, the history of backers. Dont'a Hightower is one of my favorites. It's definitely a good system as far as the linebacker is concerned. I'm just excited to get to work.
Q: What do you like so much about Dont'a Hightower?
JB: I definitely like his style of play. He's definitely a physical guy. He's a physical guy, versatile, and that's one of the things that jumps out to you, and I watched a lot of him when he was at Alabama.
Q: Have you had any interaction with Rosevelt Colvin or some of the former Patriots who have come out of Purdue?
JB: Yeah, especially at our spring games and things like that, those guys, all our alumni make the visit to come out. It means a lot to a college guy seeing guys who are in the NFL and kind of picking their brain a little bit to see how the process is. So, definitely guys like Rosevelt, Matt Light, Rob Ninkovich, they come back and always show love.
Q: How comfortable do you feel in coverage?
JB: Oh, very comfortable. That's part of the game. As [a linebacker], that's something you have to be able to do well in coverage, so I feel comfortable doing it all.
Q: What did you do between the end of the college season and the Senior Bowl? Did you spend any time working at a sports performance complex?
JB: Yes, I trained in Nashville, Tennessee, at Ignition Performance. So, I think those guys - a lot of great, great guys down there, and I definitely think they put me in a great situation.
Q: Do you run into Dont'a Hightower at all down in Nashville?
JB: No, I didn't have the opportunity to.
Q: Was there anything specifically you set out to work on while training there?
JB: I just wanted to get better at everything - bigger, faster, stronger, things like that. That's always my goal to work on things that I may lack in. That's always the goal as far as any workout is concerned, so I just wanted to focus on all those kind of things.
Q: The way the linebacker position is going now, it feels like smaller, more athletic guys tend to get drafted earlier. Do you feel like you're an old-school linebacker in some senses?
JB: I really don't like to label myself, so I think I can be just about anything. So, as far as being a smaller linebacker, I mean, like I said, I don't put labels or anything. So I just feel like I'm just going to go out there and do my thing.
Transcripts are provided by the Patriots media relations department as a courtesy to the media and are edited for readability. All press conferences are posted and archived in their entirety at patriots.com.