Patriots LB – Marte Mapu – 2023 Draft, Pick 76
April 28, 2023
Q: Congratulations. First of all, what was your contact like with the Patriots in the pre-draft process and how surprised were you to get drafted?
MM: For contact, I had just come out for a visit and that's usually just to get a feel for their environment and meet the coaches and kind of just get a feel for how the relationship would be. How surprised I was? I was going to be surprised no matter where I was going to be drafted, whether I went undrafted or not, no matter what team I went to in all honesty.
Q: What I have read about you, versatility seems to be the keyword. How would you describe your game and what position would you say you play?
MM: I'd say I would describe my game by just having the fundamentals. I feel like I can run, cover, hit and make plays. I have good instincts. So I feel like that's just how it is for me. The position I'm going to play, you're going to see in the fall. I don't really know how that's going to fall into place. That's going to be to be determined, but wherever I am, I'm going to work to be the best at it.
Q: What was it like working with DeMarcus Covington?
MM: He's real cool. I saw him on my visit. It was kind of crazy. I don't know why I had a feeling I was going to see him, but he's just a good dude. I was able to like, during the Senior Bowl, go and ask him questions personally about the defense. I do that a lot. I did that with the linebackers coach, too. But he was super open, invited me and welcomed me to be able to do that and that really helped me being able to play faster that week.
Q: Congratulations. You mentioned taking a visit with the Patriots, was that one of many visits or was that one of the few visits that you had leading into the draft?
MM: Yes sir, I ended up going on 15 visits in total and the Patriots were one of them.
Q: Wow, 15 visits. How are your frequent flyer miles? That's unbelievable. What was that experience like?
MM: It was cool just to be around – frequent flyer miles, I got them up, for sure – but it was just cool to be around football and be able to meet different coaches and feel different cultures and environments for football, and approaching the game and how to win, and just to get to pick a lot of the different football minds in the league.
Q: Why do you think so many? Do you think that was the Senior Bowl maybe putting you on the map a little bit more?
MM: Yes, sir. I think it was just a mix of my unique situation being that I didn't get to go to the Combine. There were some questions that I had to answer at my Pro Day. But a lot of the teams just wanted to have a further evaluation of me and then kind of just get to know me a little bit more. So I think that's really where it came from.
Q: Taking you back to that Patriots visit, do you remember who you were with and what kind of questions did the Patriots want to know about you?
MM: I pretty much visited – like I got to see pretty much everybody on the staff. Really it was just getting to know me, pick my brain about football and see kind of how I was going to be. To me, how I viewed it was more that how was the environment going to be that I was going to be stepping into and kind of what was our relationship going to be like.
Q: What was it like speaking with Coach Belichick?
MM: Cool. It's different seeing him on TV than seeing him in person. Not in like a bad or good way, but he's one of the football legends, you know? So, it was just cool to be in the same room as him.
Q: The Patriots have had some pretty high-profile safeties over the years. Have you watched much tape on them?
MM: Yeah, they had one of the greats Devin McCourty. I feel like it's hard not to be familiar with him if you're watching football in 2016 and 2010.
Q: Is there anyone that their game you think is similar to yours that maybe they've had in the past?
MM: In all honesty, I feel like everybody at the Patriots just does their job. I hope to emulate something like that. Just being able to come in and execute at a high level. No buts, no missed assignments, and then just playing really good football all around.
Q: I saw that you tore your pec in February I think it was. Do you know just what the recovery timeline is for that?
MM: Yes, sir. I will be working with the team. Right now, it's feeling good. I'll be ready by training camp at the latest. But right now, I'm feeling good. We'll see what that process looks like with the team, but I know I'll be healthy and when I'm healthy, I'm ready to go.
Q: Just for folks who aren't especially familiar with you as a player, what should Patriots fans know about what you'll bring to New England?
MM: Somebody that all they really know is football. This is what I live. This is all I really think about. This is fun for me. This is a part of my life. So by saying that, I'm trying to say this is all I put my energy into. I go hard at it. I try to perfect myself. As I grow as a person, I grow in football and vice versa. So I just am really intent when it comes to something like this. This is kind of all I want to be. And this is really all I do.