Amidst the many tweets that Patriots’ rookie defensive end Deatrich Wise Jr. received on draft day, one in particular stood above the rest. The tweet came from someone who knows what it’s like to be an Arkansas Razorback taken in the fourth round of the draft by one of the premier franchises in all of professional sports. It was also a harbinger of things to come for life in New England. This sums it up perfectly:
Congrats @wisehog94 let’s work!!
— Trey Flowers (@III_Flowers) April 29, 2017
With the Patriots, Wise is reunited with his former college teammate and mentor Trey Flowers, the author of the aforementioned tweet, and a Patriots fourth-round pick, himself. The second-year defensive end knows that of which he tweets. After all, he has become a formidable pass rusher for the defending super bowl champions, and is well aware of the work it takes to succeed in Foxboro. Wise has described his relationship with Flowers as that of an ‘older brother-type.’ And with that tweet, his ‘older brother’ put him on notice.
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Wise seems poised to follow Flowers’ advice. At Arkansas, he overcame both hand and shoulder injuries. He ended his college career on a high note with a dominant performance in the East-West Shrine Game. But Wise, no stranger to hard work, knows that’s only scratching the surface of the work that lies ahead.
At 6’5″, 274 lbs, Wise looks to provide an immediate upgrade to the Patriots’ pass rush. He is gifted with exceptionally long arms and an explosive first step that has some comparing him to former Pats edge rusher Chandler Jones. His length also allows him the versatility to play inside, which is a coveted trait by head coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
However, comparisons to both Jones and Flowers will not guarantee him a spot on the edge. Wise faces competition, most notably, from fellow defensive ends Derek Rivers (another rookie pass rusher drafted this year, in the third-round) and Geneo Grissom (who is facing a training camp on the roster bubble.) If that isn’t enough, Wise must work on improving his speed, which he must possess to consistently get to the quarterback, as well as to attack the opponent’s running game. This is a skill that, by his own admission, has been an Achilles heel of his game. There is also a question of injury. Injuries slowed his production during his final year at Arkansas after an impressive 2015 season. That season saw him post 10 of his 18-career sacks, along with 12 quarterback hits.
In a post-draft day interview with CBS Boston Sports, Wise (taken 131st overall) reiterated that his work ethic and football IQ would set him apart from his competition. He has the right attitude for success and his physical skills translate very well into the Patriots’ defensive system. But, as Flowers told CBS, you have to do the work. Because in New England, there are ‘no days off.’ And it seems that Wise wouldn’t have it any other way.