It's a surprise landing
Wilson definitely flew under radar
FOXBOROUGH - With temperatures in the mid-50s and a steady breeze whipping through Gillette Stadium on Saturday, it felt a little like fall, so Tavon Wilson made sure to dress accordingly.
Wilson, the Patriots’ second-round draft pick, got off the plane Saturday morning and made an unscheduled stop to buy a sweatshirt. He chose one that said Boston, a nod to his new home.
A surprise by many to go in the second round - he was the No. 48 overall pick, higher than almost every projection - the defensive back from Illinois was saying all the right things during his introductory press conference.
“It’s been crazy, but it’s been everything I could ever want,’’ Wilson said. “It’s been great, you can tell why they’re successful here. I’m just looking forward to contributing any way I can, hit the ground running, do whatever I’m asked to do.’’
The Patriots introduced first-round picks Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower on Friday. Saturday it was Wilson’s turn (defensive end Jake Bequette, taken in the third round on Friday, wasn’t expected to arrive from Arkansas until Saturday night).
Wilson met with some of the Patriots coaches, bumped into fellow defensive back Ras-I Dowling, and spent time making the interview rounds. Expectations are high for second-round picks, and Wilson said he’s confident he’ll be a good fit.
“I’m just going to come in, play special teams, be the best at whatever position they play me at. The more you can do, the better you’re going to be,’’ he said. “You can just tell, when you watch Patriot football, that it’s Patriot football. It’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m excited to be a part of this organization.’’
As soon as he puts the Patriots uniform on, he’ll inherit a whole bunch of young fans. Which will serve as a nice bookend to his oldest fan: Wilson’s great-great-grandmother, Eddye Williams, is 112 and lives in Washington, D.C., where Wilson grew up. She’s one of the oldest people in the US and, according to Wilson, still sharp.
“She can still walk around and talk, so it’s fun to be around. She’s still a funny woman,’’ Wilson said. “She’s losing her eyesight, but she tries to watch me.’’
Describing himself as a “hard worker, versatile, smart,’’ Wilson is a 6-foot, 205-pounder who played safety and cornerback for Illinois, in addition to special teams. He had 81 tackles as a senior, and added a sack, an interception, and two recovered fumbles.
He didn’t grow up a Redskins fan, and chose not to come up with any names when asked which defensive backs already in the NFL he’ll try to pattern his game after.
“I don’t try to compare myself to anyone, I just try to be the best player Tavon can be,’’ Wilson said. “That’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since I’ve been playing the game.’’
He’ll get the chance with the Patriots. Taking Wilson in the second round surprised many. Not him.
“I was excited,’’ Wilson said. “I’d heard things all over the place, but I was excited that they believed in me at that pick.’’
Coach Bill Belichick and his friend and peer with the Eagles, Andy Reid, have made some sort of trade for 11 straight seasons, with many of them coming during the draft. Last year, to keep the streak alive, the Patriots sent their sixth-round pick (No. 193) to Philadelphia in exchange for the 194th pick.
The streak is now in jeopardy, because the Patriots, who were involved in multiple trades over the weekend, didn’t strike any deal with the Eagles.
Deal with it
The Patriots made seven picks, but owned a handful of others at one time or another before making trades before and during the draft. The Bengals, who sent Chad Ochocinco to New England last summer for a draft pick this year and next, used what had been the Patriots’ fifth-round selection on receiver Marvin Jones from California.
Denver got a fourth-round pick (and a first) after the Patriots moved into the Broncos’ spot at No. 25 and took Hightower. Denver dealt that fourth-round pick to Tampa Bay, which then sent it to Houston. The Texans drafted defensive end Jared Crick from Nebraska.
Philadelphia used the Patriots’ sixth-round pick (earned from the 2010 Tracy White trade) on guard Brandon Washington of Miami. A pair of seventh-round picks were also dealt by the Patriots as a result of 2010 trades. The first, to Minnesota in exchange for Randy Moss, was eventually used by Detroit for Oklahoma linebacker Travis Lewis. The second, sent to the Chiefs in a trade for Jarrad Page, was used by Kansas City on Michigan receiver Junior Hemingway.