Thursday, May 30, 2013

Rutgers Patriots don't expect special treatment


Bill Belichick loves him some Rutgers. But that doesn't mean every Scarlet Knight is a lock to stick with the New England Patriots.

The Patriots' current 90-man roster boasts eight former Rutgers players, including a pair of 2013 third-round defensive backs in Duron Harmon and Logan Ryan. The duo will join incumbent starter Devin McCourty, also formerly of Rutgers, in a defensive backfield that is currently hiring.

Harmon recognizes, however, that the only passes he'll get in trying to earn a gameday roster spot are the ones he intercepts in practice. (photo: Peter Roan, Flickr)

"It’s great to have people who you’re familiar with and to go through the process with," Harmon recently told our friend Max Strauss of "But we all know that for us to make this squad, we all have to do what we have to do."

This offseason, Harmon is part of a very competitive positional battle for the starting safety gig alongside McCourty. He'll have to beat out veteran Adrian Wilson and a couple returning Patriots to win the job.

"We have to all take care of our own business, and just because I know Devin McCourty does not mean that I will make the roster," Harmon said. "Just because I know Justin Francis or Logan Ryan, that’s not going to win me favors in Coach Belichick’s eyes.

"All I have to do is just continue working on me becoming a great player, and helping the Patriots, and the [other Rutgers players] have to do that as well."

New England used its last draft pick of 2013 to snag former Rutgers linebacker Steve Beauharnais before signing Jones and receiver Mark Harrison as undrafted free agents.

The Patriots acquired the defensive end Francis last year as an UFA, and they picked up offensive lineman Kevin Haslam, a former Scarlet Knight who most recently spent time with the San Diego Chargers after not being drafted in 2010, off of waivers last week.

"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," Ryan said in April, via ESPN Boston. "That's something that we're taught, and that's something that I'm going to bring to the Patriots organization."

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