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Do these rookies have an edge?

Posted by Albert Breer  April 29, 2010 05:12 PM

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Meyer said, on the flip side, that "There’s some not-very-good places. When they get picked up and they go there, that’s hard. I get phone call after phone call after phone call about what’s going on."

Saban seconded that. And with players from his program -- like Patriots seventh-round pick Brandon Deaderick -- you take it up another notch.

"We run the same systems here that we ran in the NFL," Saban told me. I’m not going to sit here and profess that it’s really simple, but they learn more. They learn more football, they know more, and it’s compatible. I don’t change when I’m the defensive coordinator for Bill or the I go back to college at Michigan State or I go to the Miami Dolphins or I come here.

"I don’t change, like, ‘OK, we got this college defense or college offense and when we’re in this league we play this, but when we’re in this league we play that.’ We did the same things. I think the exposure that the players have had to the same kind of system they’ll play in at the next level, they’ll have an advantage."

Really, though, with all these kids, it seems to come down to understanding expectations, moreso than grasping a scheme. Since Belichick knows what's expected in those college programs, he'd probably expect that Spikes, Cunningham, Hernandez, Deaderick, Devin McCourty and Ted Larsen will be ready for what's thrown at them.

"It’s just real straight-forward, strict, you know what you have to do to be successful," Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram said, in explaining those expectations. "The goals around here are laid out. I’m not sure how an NFL team is run, but hearing from players I’ve played with from here like Rashad (Johnson) and Antoine (Caldwell) and Glen (Coffee), they say they were ready for it when they stepped in because of the program they went through here."
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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