The best soundbites from the Patriots' draft picks. Transcripts are courtesy of the Patriots' media relations department.
KYLE DUGGER, DB, LENOIR-RHYNE
Q: You have been described as a versatile player who can play all over the field. How would you describe your playing style?
KD: I would agree. I would say aggressive style, smart, high IQ. Definitely learning while the game is going on, as well as from previous film study throughout the week. Definitely I would agree with that statement.
Q: How much would you say that playing at a Division II school has shaped you? Did that process of going through high school without Division I offers put a chip on your shoulder that you can carry with you?
KD: As far as a chip, yeah. It’s definitely grown into a mountain on my shoulders. It’s definitely something that’s going to be permanent. I’m going to carry it throughout my career as long as I have the opportunity to play the game. But Division II football, it may be different in the way that the program wasn’t made to produce NFL players. So a lot of the things, if I wanted to get better, I would have to take it into my own hands as far as my work ethic, the way I approached myself, how I looked at myself on film, how I critiqued myself. I really had to go the extra mile and not just look at who I’m playing against but kind of compare it to what I was trying to get to. It definitely developed a lot of the work ethic and the things that I do off the field, the way I look at film, the detail I look at film with, how I teach myself – it definitely developed the side for me.
Q: I believe you had six punt returns for touchdowns during college. How comfortable are you in the role as a punt returner?
KD: I’m very comfortable to follow my hands and being back there to catch the ball and receive and have an opportunity to change the game, other than being on the defensive side of the ball. So, I’d say really comfortable. I did play running back for the first 10 years of my football career, so I think it really stands out that I’ve got a feel for the football when I’m back to catch a punt.
Q: In the pre-draft process, did the Patriots discuss your special teams ability with you, specifically as a punt and kick returner? Did they express that’s something they’ll want you to do in your first year?
KD: We definitely discussed those things. I know for a fact that I have a big role in the special teams department as far as punt returns if the opportunity presents itself. If I’ll be given the opportunity, I’ll take advantage of it and that’ll be it. But, as far as special teams as a whole, I definitely know I’m going to have a big role with that. They definitely told me about that.
JOSH UCHE, LB, MICHIGAN
Q: From your standpoint, you played half the snaps for Michigan but it seems like you got to do more at the Senior Bowl. Were some of the things you were allowed to do at the Senior Bowl a true representation of who you are as a player?
JU: Definitely. The stuff I did at Michigan is a representation of myself as well. The Senior Bowl, there wasn’t really any restrictions or anything like that. I just got to be me and got a lot more opportunities and things like that. But I had opportunities at Michigan, too. So I feel like both really allowed me to showcase who am I as a person and as a player. So they were both very, very good experiences for me and helped me get to this point.
Q: What is your connection like with Chase Winovich and have you guys had a chance to connect since you found out you’re going to be teammates again?
JU: Yeah, that was my boy. When he was at Michigan, I remember before every game we talked about what techniques we were going to use to beat the tackles that week. We would just always go over the motions in practice and, ‘Okay, this move is going to work on this guy. I feel like this guy struggles with this move.’ It’s just great to be able to have that chemistry back possibly. He’s just a great guy – high motor, high character, high effort guy. He’s just a really good human being.
Q: You noted how you feel this is a nice fit for you. Can you tell me more about why your strengths are well-suited to the Patriots and why you think the Patriots ended up drafting you?
JU: I would say it’s a good fit for me because I’m a hard-ass worker and the Patriots work their asses off, so that’s first and foremost. The Patriots themselves are just very unique, very diverse, very dynamic and they do a bunch of different things, and I feel like that’s who I am as a football player. I just feel like it’s definitely a perfect fit.
ANFERNEE JENNINGS, LB, ALABAMA
Q: Could you tell us about your game? Were there any conversations about you playing off the ball in the NFL, as well as on the edge?
AJ: Yes sir, I talked to Coach Belichick last night. He plans on using me kind of the same way that I was used at Alabama – using my versatility, being able to stack it back off the ball and line up on the edge and move around, making the most of wherever he puts me.
Q: During your last year in Tuscaloosa, did you get to know Vinnie Sunseri when he was a graduate assistant?
AJ: Yeah, no doubt. Vinnie was kind of one of the older guys. He was the analyst for a couple years here and someone I could really reach out to and have conversations with. He got to the job to New England earlier this year and he told me, actually right before we started the combine and stuff like that, that I was going to be a Patriot. With that being said, I just went about the process and now I'm here and I'm a Patriot. So, it's kind of funny, and I look forward to it.
DEVIN ASIASI, TE, UCLA
Q: I understand you roomed with Dalton Keene at the Combine. What kind of relationship did you form there? And also, how well did you get to know Josh Uche during your year together at Michigan?
DA: Oh, man Dalton was a great roommate. Definitely created a good relationship with him when I was over there – just kept it really respectful. We were both there to do our thing and go out there and perform and perform to the best of our abilities. We definitely did that, and I felt like after the whole Combine went down, we kind of relaxed and had a good conversation about the whole thing. [Inaudible] We definitely gave each other good luck and all that so I’m looking forward to going out there and working with him. Josh Uche, that’s my guy. Came in the same time I came in over there at Michigan, he was my roommate actually for my freshman Bridge Program at Michigan. But me and him have a unique relationship as well, just sharing that kind of freshmen year together, going through that whole Summer Bridge program together at Michigan and kind of getting used to the college life together, you know? So me and him definitely have a good relationship and I can’t wait to see my boy for sure.
Q: Throughout your life, were there any tight ends you modeled your game after? Or are there any tight ends you watch film on now and try to add stuff from?
DA: I was a quarterback growing up, so I didn’t really look up to any tight ends. I was literally looking up to quarterbacks. My favorite quarterback was Michael Vick. So it was kind of different growing up. But as I got to be a tight end, of course – I started playing the position just looking up to guys who were doing it and guys I can take different parts of their games from. So, it’s guys like George Kittle, obviously Gronk [Rob Gronkowski], who is one of the best tight ends to ever play the game – all those guys you just look up to and kind of want to take little different pieces to add to your game. But at the end of the day, it’s your game. You’ve got to make it unique in your own way.
DALTON KEENE, TE, VIRGINIA TECH
The level of versatility at Virginia Tech – I think they tried to do a lot of different things with me. It was awesome that they trusted me to do so many different things and I think it says a lot about how I play and as a football player. That’s why I’m so excited that I got picked up by the Patriots because I think they do so many different things with their tight ends and are really creative there. So, I couldn’t be happier right now with where I ended up.
Q: Are there any tight ends that you watch on film to try to take things from them to add to your game?
DK: Yeah, I think probably the best for me is George Kittle. I think he’s a super versatile tight end and they do a lot of different things there. That’s what I pride myself on doing, being a versatile tight end and being able to do a lot of different things – playing from the slot, or playing fullback or to play traditional tight end. [Inaudible] I think he does that all really well.
Q: How do you feel you and Asiasi can complement each other’s games or are you viewing it as competition for time? How are you looking at coming in with a tight end drafted in the same round?
DK: I’m actually really excited about that because I think we’ll complement each other really well. I was actually roommates with him at the Combine so I got a chance to get to know him and he’s an awesome guy. I’m really excited for him. I think he’s going to do a lot of things really well, especially in the passing game. I couldn’t be more excited to start to develop our relationship, and I think we’re going to do a lot of really good things.
Q: How did that happen where you and Asiasi got hooked up together at the Combine and how much time did you get to spend with him?
DK: We got to spend a good amount of time together because, like I said, we were roommates. We got to talk and it was a really good experience for me just because of the stress and everything going on at the Combine, we had that shared experience. I think it was really good to start to build that relationship. I think that’s going to help us out a lot moving forward because we’ve already broken the ice and we already know each other. I’m really looking forward to play with him.
Q: Did I read correctly that your teammates nicknamed you ‘Rambo?’
DK: That was my nickname at Virginia Tech. I didn’t come up with it.
Q: Do you like it?
DK: Yeah. Yeah, it’s kind of cool. Honestly, it’s a pretty cool nickname. I mean, like I said, I didn’t come up with it, but it could be a lot worse.
Justin Rohrwasser, K, Marshall
Placing kickoffs: "I’m very talented and I work constantly on placing the ball in corners, high hang time kicks at the goal line and then also the driven balls out of the back. I’m confident that whatever the coaches would like me to do this season, I’m going to perform well at it."
On kicking in weather: "I’m very well-versed in bad weather and bad conditions for kicking, and I’m confident I can excel in it."
On kicking in pressure spots: "You’ve got to make sure that every kick is the same kick. You never want to go into a kick thinking that it’s a big situation. Everything’s routine. It should be routine. You’ve done it a hundred times. You block out all the nerves and you rely on your fundamentals. I think that just comes from training yourself mentally to be ready for big-time situations. I’ve been fortunate that I was a goal keeper when I played soccer, so it’s a high-pressure position. Transferring over to kicker was a smooth transition, so I can use a lot of the same skills to block out nerves and just rely on what I know how to do, which is kick."
I think they’re getting a hard worker and somebody who is going to chase after the best version of themself and a good teammate. I want to do my best in order to help the team win.
Q: One of your tattoos matches a group called the Three Percenters. What’s the story there?
JR: I got that tattoo when I was a teenager and I have a lot of family in the military. I thought it stood for a military support symbol at the time. Obviously, it’s evolved into something that I do not want to represent. When I look back on it, I should have done way more research before I put any mark or symbol like that on my body, and it’s not something I ever want to represent. It will be covered.
MICHAEL ONWENU, OL, MICHIGAN
Q: I think you weighed in at 344 pounds at the Combine. What weight did you play at last season and do you plan on staying at that type of weight?
MO: Last season, I played around 368. I’m liking being lighter, so I’m anticipating I’m playing around – wherever the coaches ask me to be is where I’ll be, in short words.
Q: Did you play any center? I know you made starts at both guard spots but have you done any snapping?
MO: I haven’t played any center, but I’ve done snapping.
Q: You have experience playing both guard spots. Did you have any conversations with the Patriots coaching staff during the pre-draft process about how they view you on the team getting ready for next season?
MO: During the pre-draft process, there wasn’t really any talk of specifics. But you know, I would style myself in terms of playing any position that’s needed, whether that’s tackle, guard or center.