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Elmore & 'Zona-to-Pats connection

3/28/2011

The Patriots have hit it big twice when drafting players from the University of Arizona.

In 1996, they picked Tedy Bruschi, the NCAA's leading sacker. In 2010, they traded up two spots for tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Arizona has a few players this year who could be of interest to the Patriots, and one of them -- defensive end Ricky Elmore -- is under the spotlight in a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com. Elmore is second on Arizona's all-time sack list behind Bruschi.

"Being at U of A, you can't help but know what a great football player he was and what [Bruschi] did for the program. His name is big here. I tried to take after what he did," Elmore said.

At 6-foot-4 and 257 pounds, Elmore is considered one of the "tweeners" in this year's draft -- an end for 4-3 defenses and an outside linebacker for 3-4 defenses. In New England, he'd be in the 3-4.

One thing that came up with Elmore is that his family is filled with Patriots fans. His stepfather, who coached him throughout youth football, is from Southbridge, Massachusetts and is a subscriber to Patriots Football Weekly.