Ja?Whaun Bentley could become a household name in New England this fall.
The third-year linebacker enters the 2020 season with the Patriots as one likely candidate to earn significant defensive snaps after the offseason departures of Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins and Elandon Roberts.
But it starts with finding his role.
“I would say this year, just like every year, just looking to find your role,” Bentley told reporters on Wednesday, per the Patriots’ website. “Each guy has a role to play. I feel like we stress that a whole lot as an organization. Whatever that role may be that year, I?m going to look to progress as well as find as many opportunities as the team needs to be filled.”
Bentley played all 16 games in 2019, but saw limited reps due to the Patriots depth at the position. It followed a rookie season that ultimately ended in disappointment. Bentley played just three games (two starts) after a torn biceps injury in 2018.
He did, however, impress during that small sample size. Bentley contributed as a three-down linebacker, and it’s something he ultimately could find himself doing again.
“This is becoming kind of a cliché answer, but whatever the team needs I?m looking to do,” Bentley said, as transcribed by WEEI. “So whether that is on the ball or off the ball, whatever I?m asked to do as far as our game plan and things like that, that?s what I?ll do.”
While Bentley’s grown during a short amount of time in New England, the Purdue product is well-aware both his mental and physical progression will need to reach a new level in 2020.
“Obviously knowledge, knowledge of the game,? Bentley said, as transcribed by WEEI. ?Being able to be on the field and direct traffic a little bit more. Coming from college to the pros you surround yourself with great veterans which we have in our organization so it was a huge opportunity to learn from those guys and implement what you can learn and add it to your game. So, I feel like Year 1 to Year 2, took some good steps. Year 3 you also want to take those same progressive steps and take your game to the next level.”