On the eve of the fourth preseason game, Deatrich Wise has a lot to reflect on. Just two years ago he was new to the NFL, and trying to carve out a role on the Patriots defensive front. Now, the third year defensive lineman has settled in, and while Wise is still fighting for a roster spot on a loaded defensive unit, he's doing so with more confidence.
"I've grown a lot just from when I first got here being kind of wide-eyed, bushy-tailed, not knowing what to expect, to actually knowing the ropes a little bit," Wise said after Tuesday's practice. "I'm still learning now. I continue to learn, and whatever obstacles I face, I continue to learn from them as well."
Wise was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL draft. In his first two seasons in New England, the Arkansas product played in 36 games collecting 11.5 sacks. With a revamped defense this season, making the 2019 roster could be more difficult than in years past, however Wise knows that he's a better version of what he was two years ago.
"The biggest difference is my football IQ on the field. I know what to look for. I know how to read offenses and how to prepare myself mentally and physically for a game."
It helps too that Wise works with a coach that is very familiar with him dating back to their days at Arkansas.
"He's known me since I was a sophomore in college," Wise said of Patriots defensive line coach Bret Bielema. "He's a very smart guy. It was only a matter of time until Coach Belichick found out how smart he was and brought him on board."
Given the competition on the defensive line, it would not be a surprise if Wise played in tomorrow night's preseason game against the Giants. Typically, seeing the field in the fourth preseason game is not a good sign for a player vying for a roster spot. However, look at Jason McCourty who played nearly all of preseason game number four last season. He went on to become an impact player in 2018. If Wise is on the field tomorrow night, don't be alarmed. Simply look for the way he has progressed since arriving in New England two years ago and how he can contribute to a strong 2019 defensive unit.