FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Without ever having stepped foot inside Gillette Stadium, former Arkansas defensive end Jake Bequette should already feel at home with the New England Patriots.
After all, he became the eighth defensive player from the SEC on the Patriots roster, and is the second player added from the conference during the 2012 NFL Draft, joining first round pick Dont’a Hightower (Alabama).
The conference continues to churn out pro prospects, and Bequette doesn’t seem at all surprised that that is the case.
“We’ve got very talented guys down here (in the SEC), our performance shows that," he said. "I think it’s no secret that we like to play ‘D’ down here and I think that NFL teams are noticing that.”
Like many of his SEC counterparts-turned pros, Bequette is hopeful for a smooth transition to the NFL. Exactly what position he will play in the pros remains unclear, although Bequette has some experience as both a 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker (in the pre-draft process).
"I feel very comfortable at both. I guess that’s kind of a stock answer, but it’s true," he said late Saturday night after the Patriots selected him 90th overall. "I played the 4-3 end mostly in college, but I also stood up a little bit. Doing the outside linebacker position at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, the more I did it, the more it grew on me. I feel very comfortable at both and I can’t wait to see what the coaches have in store for me."
Bequette spoke about readying himself for either position during the pre-draft process, and whether teams asked of him during workouts to display the skills needed to play in a three-point stance or from a stand-up alignment.
"Well it was actually quite a bit of both," he answered. "They wanted to see, first off all, my pass-rushing ability, my get-off out of my 3-point stance, but also quite a bit of 2-point work. Working out in coverage, covering to spot drops, and doing everything with a linebacker aspect as well."
As for studying particular NFL players to get an idea of what his responsibilities as a pro may include?
"Absolutely. Every Sunday I would turn on NFL games, and it seems like half of the teams in the league now, at least, are running a 3-4 kind of hybrid defense, or a 4-3," he said. "I know New England is very flexible and you do watch certain players, certain outside linebackers who play standing up and in a three-point stance on passing downs. I’m very excited and if that’s what the coaches want me to do then I can’t wait do it.”
Bequette was the fourth defensive player that New England invested in during the draft, and he’s looking forward to being a part of what could be described as a defensive rebuilding effort, “Absolutely. I’m not really sure about the overall plan, but I just want to do my part, whatever that is. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I’m going to do it.”
Sounds like a Patriot already.