Saturday, April 27, 2013
Getting to know Day 2 selections
By Mike Rodak
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The Patriots have scouted their first four draft selections for months, but Friday night was the first opportunity for reporters to get to know the new guys.
Interviewed by conference call shortly after they were picked, each player's story began to emerge.
Jamie Collins hails from McCall Creek in southwest Mississippi, just north of the Louisiana border. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi, located in nearby Hattiesburg. And if you recognize the name, that's because its most famous resident is former NFL quarterback Brett Favre.
Yes, Collins knows Favre. In fact, the two have fished together, and exchanged texts before this week's draft. Collins is strictly a bass fisherman, and a pretty good one, he says.
"But I don't like to brag. I just like to go out and prove it," Collins said.
Aaron Dobson is from Dunbar, West Virginia, a small city just up the Kanawha River from the state capital, Charleston. On the other side of Charleston is Rand, hometown of former NFL receiver Randy Moss. Both played at Marshall University, some 50 miles west.
Off the field, Dobson says he "plays video games" and "just likes to kick it with my family and friends."
The Patriots' pair of third-round picks, of course, know a little about each other. Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon not only were teammates at Rutgers, but close friends and workout partners. Their families, as well as Devin McCourty's family, are well-acquainted with one another.
Ryan grew up in Voorhees, New Jersey, which is not too far from Philadelphia. Not surprisingly, he was an Eagles fan. And if you're looking for personality out of these first four picks, Ryan's your man.
Telling reporters he's a "family guy," Ryan said he and his girlfriend have a one-year old puppy. It's a puggle -- they couldn't get a pit bull, so "we had to go with the next fiercest thing" -- and its name is Nala, after The Lion King character.
"I'm seeing my dog grow up," he joked. "I got (it) last year (and it) woke me up at all times in the middle of the night."
Just wait until he has kids.
Finally, Harmon's hometown is Magnolia, Delaware. He was one of 10 national finalists for the Senior CLASS Award and the ARA Sportsmanship Award.
Harmon and Ryan will be arriving at Gillette Stadium for rookie minicamp next month as former teammates and friends, a rarity in the NFL, and with a familiar mentor in Devin McCourty.
On the other end of the spectrum, Collins doesn't know any Patriots players, and will be moving nearly 1,500 miles from home.
"(I'm) going in cold," he said.
Here's some advice: Pack warm clothes, and your new teammates will do the rest.