New Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan, who was selected No. 83 overall in the third round of the NFL draft, spoke to reporters via conference call. Here are his comments in full.
Can you tell us your connections to the Patriots prior to the draft?
LR: The Patriots were one of the teams that worked me out and I knew they needed a corner and I felt like I was the guy for them all along. They have great Rutgers connections, but beyond that I felt like I’m a smart, versatile player and I can do well in that organization and I feel like that is a perfect fit.
You were a red shirt freshman when Devin McCourty was a senior…
Can you speak to your relationship with him?
LR: The relationship that Devin and I have goes beyond words. He’s a guy that helped me make the transition coming from being a talented high school player to becoming a college corner, and now for him to be there for this next step – I’ve grown up over the years – I’m not that 18-year-old boy anymore. To have the opportunity to compete alongside him in practice every day and the work ethic that he brings and the great leader that he is – I’m just honored to be able to play alongside him and [be in] the Patriots organization.
Did you play mainly man coverage last season or was there a lot of zone coverage?
LR: At Rutgers, we did a little bit of both in that we were high-pressure and ran NFL complex schemes, which was something that we had great success doing and Rutgers asked me to do a lot of man and zone, and be able to tackle and play special teams. I’m a guy that doesn’t like to come off the field and I’m a guy that wants to win games and will do whatever it takes to win games.
Were you excited to see Duron Harmon get picked a couples spots behind you?
LR: Yeah, I think the celebration from the family that I have with me was equally as loud when we heard Duron get picked behind me. He is one of my best friends that I’ve had through college. He has played behind me in college and he has made me be a better player, honestly. I can’t think of a better person to be a Patriot alongside myself other than Duron Harmon.
Was it a pleasant surprise to see him go that high? He wasn’t projected to be a third-round pick.
LR: It didn’t surprise me one bit. He is a great football player and I’m with him and he’s my workout partner. He works extremely hard and he believes in himself, and I believe in him. He has all of the measurables and the speed and anything that you look for. He was a two-time All Big East defender and I think if you were best in the conference two straight years then you’re worthy of being a third-round pick.
You said he made you better. What are some of the ways that he did that?
LR: He just pushed me on the field. We always would raise each other’s level of game. He allowed me to play aggressive – when you have a great safety behind you – much like how Devin McCourty is for the Patriots, it allows your corners to play a lot more aggressive and that’s something that Duron did. He is a great ball-hog in center field and helped us get a lot of turnovers.
What is your comfort level in man coverage?
LR: I’m extremely comfortable and I think if you want to play at Rutgers it’s something that we have to do and if you want to play in the NFL it’s something that you have to be comfortable doing and that’s [in] the league – you need corners who can play man-to-man and can make your defense better. That’s why I work hard every single day. I’m always trying to improve my game because if you are a great man-to-man corner then it makes everyone around you better and makes the game of football easier for your defense and that’s what I’m trying to be.
How often did you see Coach Belichick down at Rutgers, especially when Coach Schiano was down there?
LR: You know, I think the reason that we saw him occasionally was because of Steve, his son, and I had a chance to be a teammate with Steve Belichick, so we did see Coach Belichick around a couple of times, but other than that, not so much. It wasn’t like he was there all the time. I think he was there supporting his son like any father would. He wasn’t there coaching for him, he was there as a father. So it was a very relaxed time when we saw Coach Belichick.
Do you think it will be difficult at all to transition from being a teammate of Steve’s to having him as a coach with the Patriots?
LR: Not at all. He’s a guy that I bumped into at the combine and said, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ He went his path in life and I went mine. He’s going to be a great coach, and I feel as if I’m going to be a great player. It’s nothing more than that. This is a business now and I understand that.
It looks like you were named Academic All Big East at least a couple of times. I’m curious what your major is and how does that translate to football and the ability to digest a playbook?
LR: I was a labor studies major and a psychology minor. I come from a family where my father was the first person to get a college degree. I have an older brother who graduated from Drexel [University] as an engineer, extremely bright, so education is extremely important at all times. I’ve always been an Honor Roll student and it’s something that I had to do to play at Rutgers, obviously, playing for Greg Schiano and the standards that we had at Rutgers academically. And it means a lot. I think your DBs have to be some of the smartest people on the field, because they have to understand what their job is and how the game is at an extremely fast pace. You have to be able to operate on your feet extremely fast and I think the smarter you are to digest that, it makes the game a little bit easier.
What team did you root for growing up and what were your feelings about the Patriots?
LR: The team I rooted for growing up, being from south Jersey, was the Eagles, but ever since Devin [McCourty] got drafted by the Patriots, watching those guys — they’re on TV a lot; going to Rutgers, you get to see a whole bunch of Patriots games — it’s hard not to root for the Patriots. I respect everything that the Patriots organization does. I think they’re a class act. I think that’s how it was run at Rutgers. I think the reason why Rutgers guys have success at the Patriots is because we’re built to play football on the field, but live like a professional off the field. That’s something that we’re taught, and that’s something that I’m going to bring to the Patriots organization and hopefully help contribute.
What do you do away from the football field?
LR: I’m a family guy. I have a beautiful girlfriend. I have a 1-year-old puppy, now a dog, that I got last year that woke me up at all times in the middle of the night. So I’m seeing my dog grow up, and outside of football I just like to relax with my family and really take it easy. But I’m one of the hardest working players, I guarantee you that. I’m always working on football. The very little time I have away from it, I like to get away and relax with my family.
What kind of dog and what’s the dog’s name?
LR: I got a Puggle named Nala, like [the character from] “The Lion King.”
Your girlfriend picked that dog, right?
LR: Well I was living in an apartment, so I couldn’t get a Pit Bull, so we had to go with the next fiercest thing, which is a Puggle.