Safety Adrian Wilson, who signed a free agent contract with the Patriots last week, said that while it was difficult being released by the Cardinals after 12 years, his new landing spot was decided pretty quickly.
“Whenever Coach [Bill] Belichick calls, you answer,’’ said Wilson. “Obviously, being able to compete every year, able to play not only for the playoffs, play for the division, but a chance to play in the Super Bowl . . .
“At the end of the day, I want to come in and compete with everyone else, I have no trouble with that. Coach Belichick was very up-front with me.”
Despite reports that he wanted to remain in the western United States, Wilson said New England was his first choice.
“It wasn’t a hard sell,” he said. “But at the same time, talking to Coach Belichick and getting an understanding of what he wanted from me, it was a good fit.”
The Patriots want to keep Devin McCourty at free safety, and Wilson likely will compete with Tavon Wilson and Steve Gregory for the strong safety spot.
The 6-foot-3-inch Wilson is the hard-hitting, strong safety-type New England has lacked in recent seasons.
Wilson, 33, signed a three-year, $5 million deal, with a $1 million signing bonus with New England.
Though he did not see much time in nickel sets last season, Wilson believed it was not a decision made because of his abilities.
“The situation last year was strictly a coaches’ decision,” he said. “I don’t think that had anything to do with me losing a step, but obviously nobody gets younger.
“Physically I feel great. I take care of my body, so that’s not an issue as far as where I’m at physically.
“It was something I had to deal with and I dealt with and I continued to practice hard and just kept trying to encourage the guys and keep moving forward.”
Wilson, who picked alma mater North Carolina State among his Final Four teams, said he doesn’t have a connection with any current Patriots, but has chatted with McCourty and Kyle Arrington since being signed.
Arrington wears No. 24, the number Wilson has worn throughout his career and would like to wear in New England. He hopes he’s made Arrington, who became a father for the first time just a week ago, an offer he can’t refuse.
“I offered him a year’s supply of Pampers,” Wilson said. “Hope he gets back to me.”
After Wilson’s offer was written about on Twitter, Arrington offered a counter-tweet, saying, “may have to throw some formula in there too.”
. . .
The NFL released the full seven-round draft order Thursday.
The Patriots have five picks: first round (29th overall); second (59th); third (91st); and two in the seventh (226th and 236th). The 226th pick was obtained from Tampa Bay in the Aqib Talib trade.
Because of the Talib, Albert Haynesworth, and Chad Ochocinco trades, New England does not have selections in the fourth, fifth, or sixth rounds.