One reason why the Patriots have plucked from college teams coached by ex-Bill Belichick staffmates like Nick Saban and Pat Hill in the past is that, because of those relationships, they’re able to get a better grasp on what the players are capable of in the parameters of what they’re trying to accomplish.
So we give you Notre Dame tackle Sam Young.
Since Charlie Weis is now with the Chiefs, he probably won’t be handing over his scouting report on Young to the Patriots. Still, this is a kid who started a staggering 50 games as a collegian, and did so in a system that makes his projection into the New England offense easier.
In fact, Young has done more than just play for an ex-Patriot coach. At Weis’ request, he actually has studied the big-league version of the offense he played at Notre Dame. Young said he saw his skill set being comparable to Matt Light’s, and in watching tape of the 2003 Patriots, a few things stuck out.
“Some of that technique’s unbelievable,” Young said. “There are some things in the pro game that really don’t get taught at the collegiate level, and really the techniques, it’s unbelievable what you can take away from film and how much more of a chess match it is at the pro level. A guy does one thing one play, and a guy’s going to counter it the next versus college, it’s more butting heads.
“I took a lot from it, and tried to incorporate into my game and it’s helped.”
In doing so, Young says he thinks he’s got an advantage over other prospects at his position.
He’s done some of the things that, say, the Patriots or Chiefs or Broncos would ask him to, so chances are that would speed up his development to the pro game.
“As team we’d just watch a game on television, and hear a play or see a call and say, ‘Hey, we run that’,” Young said. “So there’s definitely some crossover, but an NFL playbook’s a lot more in-depth, a lot bigger and that’s something I’m gonna have to adjust to. But I do think have a leg-up in that aspect.”
Now, where so many prospects have plenty to prove this week, because Young started half-a-hundred college games, the book on him is probably closer than being complete.
“There’s a lot on my resume, there’s a lot of games to watch,” Young said. “I have to show I can play with elite athletes day-in and day-out. But when you have that much tape, there’s not a lot of room to hide. I think just showing the consistency, against that top level talent, is what I need to do.”
Keep an eye on this one.