More then a few fans in Patriot Nation are concerned about selecting Brandon Meriweather and his on/off field issues.
Bill Belichick's press conference gave insight as the Patriots selection wth the 24th pick and any character issues. (from the Boston Globe)
“We’ve had a busy last couple of hours here. On the 24 pick, as you know, it went right down to the wire on that. We had a number of options there, but we ended up selecting Brandon. He’s a kid I spent some time with at Miami. Versatile player. Played some corner. Played some inside nickel position on their sub defense. Played safety – both down and back. So we think he’s a real intelligent football player, has a real good understanding of concepts and the versatility. He’s played at a high level of competition, against a lot of good players. We’ll see how it goes in terms of his position, with all he can do. But he’s been a productive player for them in the passing game."
How important is it that he moves down and can cover?
“It’s a plus. He does a lot of things well. Again, there are good players that just do thing one well, and that’s a plus too. His versatility is one of his strengths. Like I said, he’s a smart player. He can do multiple things. He has physical skills to also be able to do those. That’s good.”
How does he shore up your defense?
“I don’t know. We’ll bring our players in, teach them the system, and work with them on the field and see what their role winds up being. He’s a versatile guy. We have other players, veteran players, at the safety and corner positions. That will all be decided on the field.”
He seems to play with an edge…
“I think he has a physical element to his play. He’s not 225 pounds. For his size, he’s certainly not afraid to get up in there and tackle and support the run, and be a physical player. But again, we’re not talking about a guy who is oversized for the position. That’s not what he is.”
He does have a lot of tackles.
“He’s around the ball. I think he’s a very instinctive player that shows up around the ball and gets his hands on a lot of balls. That’s hopefully why we took him, to be productive in that position, wherever it is in the secondary.”
People will see the video of him kicking the kid from Florida International…
“I think he addressed that.”
What is your take on that?
”Exactly what he said. He ran over there and made a bad decision. I don’t think that’s who he is. I spent time with him and a lot of people in that program, and I think football is important to him, he works hard at it, and he’s a good player. I think that’s more representative. It happened, he made a mistake, and he talked about it.”
He had an off-field incident in front of his apartment…you were able to reconcile those as isolated incidents?
“Again, we’re comfortable with the player we drafted. I don’t have anything else to add about it.”
What is the process you go through to reach that comfort level?
“Again, I think all of us have made mistakes. At least I have. I think some others have in this room. Maybe there are some that haven’t, I don’t know. I think what’s more important is not an incident that a person had, but really who they are, what their character is, and what you think that person really is, and what they’re about. I would say that about anybody.”
How did you ascertain that about Meriweather?
“We go through a lengthy process with every player. I don’t think we have time for all that. … Obviously, we’re comfortable with Meriweather and that’s why we took him.”