Bill Belichick Recaps Patriots’ 2015 NFL Draft Day 3: ‘The Strong Will Survive’

FOXBORO, Mass. — The 2015 NFL Draft is over after months of anticipation and three long days.

Bill Belichick looked tired but satisfied with what his New England Patriots had accomplished by selecting 11 players and making two trades. Belichick recapped what he saw in the eight players the Patriots drafted in Day 3 of the draft Saturday at Gillette Stadium.

“Another draft in the books,” Belichick said. “It was kind of a big day for us. We were pretty involved all the way through each round either picking or moving in the round. A lot of activity, I feel like things got off to a good start with (Trey) Flowers, real productive player at Arkansas he played mainly on the edge, a little inside. He’s a young player who I think has a lot of good football in front of him, a lot of good qualities in terms of leadership, toughness, those kind of things.

“Then we took the two guards. Probably pretty contrasting styles. Of course you have Tre (Jackson), he played in a pro-type offense with Winston and all the things he did at Florida State, whereas Shaq (Mason) played in an offense that was obviously very run oriented, did a lot of run blocking. He’s a very athletic player, so those are two guys that will come in and compete with us from different background that will have to learn our system and merge together. Tre played next to Stork for most of Bryan’s career down there at Florida State, so they know each other well.

“Then we took Joe (Cardona), the long snapper. That was obviously kind of a need pick based on our situation. Then we kept it going with Matt Wells, linebacker, fast. Linebacker, safety, he kind of played a SAM linebacker for Mississippi State, but a lot of what he did was defensive back related, particularly when they played spread offenses and that sort of thing. Somewhere between a linebacker and a safety. Runs very well, a productive player for them on defense and the kicking game, 3 1/2 year starter or whatever it was.

“(A.J.) Derby, a guy that really just played the position at tight end for a year. He was at Iowa, transferred, went to junior college, had a very productive year at quarterback there, whatever it was 3,000 yards passing or something like that. Went to Arkansas to compete at quarterback and was a one-year player at tight end, so I think he has a lot of good football in front of him. The transition from linebacker, quarterback, high school deal to quarterback to tight end, and I think he’s a tight end, he thinks he’s a tight end, but in the meantime, he has a lot of playing experience, just not at the position he’ll be playing for us.

“Darryl Roberts, multi-year starter down at Marshall. A guy that’s got good size, fast, played mostly on the perimeter down there. Good player, though, very good role on the team as far as his leadership and so forth.

“Xzavier Dickson, a three-year starter at Alabama. Real good program, he’s done similar things to (Geneo) Grissom, who we talked about yesterday. He’s played a lot of outside linebacker, defensive end and in the kicking game. Obviously been a good program, been well coached, so he’s played against a lot of good people and done well at Alabama.

“Put all of those guys in the mix, try to get them oriented this weekend and see how it all shakes out from there.”

It’s unlikely all 11 draft picks will make the Patriots’ 53-man roster, so there will be plenty of competition throughout OTAs, minicamp and training camp before the season starts in September.

“Welcome to the NFL, they’ll start Thursday,” Belichick said. “They’ll get a big dose of New England Patriots football over the next, whatever we got, six weeks, however long it is. We’ll give them everything we can in heavy doses, try to get them ready for training camp, and they’ll get even more of that. The strong will survive, the other ones will fall off, and we’ll keep on going.”

Thumbnail photo via Steven Senne/Associated Press

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