Takeaways from Belichick on Sirius

April, 30, 2012
4/30/12
4:15
PM ET
Patriots coach Bill Belichick was a guest on Sirius XM NFL Radio's "Movin' the Chains" program. As is usually the case when Belichick speaks with hosts Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan, there was plenty to digest.

Some of the top takeaways from this perspective:

1. Dont'a Hightower compared to Mayo and Vrabel. This was the most interesting part of the interview from this perspective, with Belichick saying Hightower is a really smart player, "similar to [Jerod] Mayo" both in football intelligence and leadership. Then Belichick detailed all the different roles Hightower could play and said from a versatility standpoint he is "different but similar to Mike Vrabel."

2. Chandler Jones a perimeter player. Belichick called Jones an "end of the line" player, making the point that he played well against top collegiate tackles now in the NFL when matched against them (e.g. Boston College's Anthony Castonzo). That puts Jones at defensive end in the 4-3, or outside linebacker in the 3-4. Belichick thought Jones was competitive in linebacker drills at the combine.

3. Tavon Wilson a four-down player & a link to Eugene Wilson. Belichick said one of the things the club liked about the second-round pick, who has widely been declared a "reach" by draft gurus, was that he factors on all four downs (similar comments made in 2010 with Devin McCourty). Belichick mentioned that Wilson has experience deep and closer to the line of scrimmage, so he factors into the run and pass games. Belichick added that he was "different but similar to Eugene Wilson", the 2003 second-round pick of the Patriots who also played at Illinois.

4. Jake Bequette's arsenal of moves stacks up well. Belichick noted Bequette's length while opining that he had a better pass-rush repertoire than "some guys have coming out of college." Belichick liked how he fared against some top offensive tackles in the SEC and felt like he was competitive in linebacker drills at the combine.

5. Going to bat for Alfonzo Dennard. The seventh-round pick from Nebraska saw his draft stock dip because of an April 21 arrest. Belichick noted how in those types of situations, he always runs things past owner Robert Kraft, and in this case, "feel like Alfonzo, at the core, that's not who he is." Belichick talked about how everyone makes mistakes (he joked that no one makes more than him) and mentioned others who have played for the team that arrived with some similar off-field questions, and were mostly able to put it behind them. On the football side, Belichick pointed out that Dennard had fared well against Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon.

6. Evasive on Brian Waters. Belichick dodged a question on whether he expects veteran guard Brian Waters to return to the team for the second year of the two-year contract he signed in 2011. Belichick mentioned there were "3 or 4" players on the roster who were "here [or] there", adding publicly for the first time that veteran offensive lineman Matt Light has retired.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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