David Andrews finally got to experience the NFL Draft for the first time this past weekend as he announced one of the New England Patriots’ third-round picks.
That’s right, you may have forgotten that this two-time Super Bowl champion, starting center and captain went unselected in 2015. Shortly after, he joined the Patriots where he has developed into one of the best players at his position in the league, especially at his young age.
“I’m just fortunate coach Belichick gave me a shot and when I got the opportunity to come to this organization, to me that was sort of an easy choice,” Andrews said. “What they’ve done, and even four or five years ago what they did then, is unreal. Just to get a chance to be a part of this organization has been pretty special.”
Therefore, the Georgia graduate knows best that draft order becomes irrelevant once all the players get on the field.
“Everyone’s going to get a fair shot and that’s the truth,” he said. “It really doesn’t matter as long as you get your foot in the door. You have to go and earn your position and earn your role on this team. Everyone is starting from ground zero here. That competition stays throughout the year and I think that helps you develop, helps you push yourself. Competition makes us all better.”
Even though Andrews has certainly made a name for himself in the NFL as an undrafted free agent, he was still excited to experience the hype of the draft and be able to represent the Patriots organization in Nashville.
“It was a good weekend, it was cool to experience the draft and see how much of a production it is. It was crazy” he said. “You don’t really realize how interested people are in it. It was such a cool environment; we have such a great fan base in the NFL. It’s a special sport.”
Of course standing on that stage came with its fair share of nerves, as well.
“Luckily coach drafted a name that was pretty easy for me, because I was a little nervous about that. You don’t want to butcher someone’s name. It’s such a special moment for those guys.”
That special moment getting drafted to the reigning Super Bowl champions can quickly become intimidating; especially with a head coach like Bill Belichick, who isn’t necessarily going to provide a warm and cozy welcome.
However, New England is notorious for flipping the page to a new season very quickly and not relishing in the previous year’s victory once the championship parade and other festivities are wrapped up. So, these rookies shouldn’t expect to be overwhelmed with any chatter about banners.
“I think it’s just the culture that has been developed long before I got here,” Andrews said. “For me, I came in the year after the Seattle Super Bowl win and I walk into this building thinking ‘wow, these guys just won a Super Bowl they have to be riding high,’ and it was like they went 0-16 the last year.”
There are other aspects of entering the NFL that can certainly be intimidating, though. For example, you can never get too comfortable.
“In college you weren’t going to get cut. You can go out there and have a bad week of practice and you’re probably going to get chewed out and yelled at, but you’re still going to have room and board. Still get to go to school and people still like to see you wearing your Georgia gear around campus,” Andrews said.
“It’s not the same in the NFL. It’s how we provide for our families; it’s our job. That’s a little bit of added weight, but you just have to take it day by day and improve.”
The Patriots have now entered phase two of their voluntary offseason program, meaning that the coaches can now work with the players on the field. The new guys won’t arrive to Foxboro until next week, but Andrews says there’s plenty of work to do in the meantime.
“Spring is a great time. You get to enjoy each other and work on your craft without a game looming over you,” he said. “You just come in, work, take advantage of the opportunities…you’re not going to make a football team in one day, so you kind of just put your head down and go to work. You can take a deep breath when it’s all said and done.”