BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots spent the 210th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on wide receiver/punt returner Braxton Berrios out of the University of Miami.
Berrios became fairly well known during the 2017 season, which was a very susccessful campaign for the Hurricanes — though it ended in an Orange Bowl loss.READ MORE: Supply Chain Issues: 'There Really Are Problems Everywhere,' Even For Small Companies
Shortly after getting drafted at the end of the sixth round, Berrios spoke to the New England media via conference call. Here’s what he had to say. (Transcript provided by the Patriots.)
Q: Where were you when you got the call from New England?
Braxton Berrios: I was in a house we rented out with a bunch of my family and friends, and I was sitting there waiting on the call.
Q: Over your college career, a lot of people had you pegged as a guy who might appeal to the Patriots. What did you think of that? Does that make you any less surprised by what happened today?
BB: No, not at all. I know the draft is crazy and you can go to any one of the 32 teams. I stay out of the media and what people think and this or that, really. During the season, and even in the offseason, I try to focus on football and what I can do to help the team. So, I wasn’t obviously paying attention to that. Yeah, I was surprised to say the least. I’m not responsible for what everybody else thinks or assumes. You know, I’m just a football player.
Q: The Patriots have a tradition of players that have a similar skillset to yours like Wes Welker, Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman. What do you think about that and what those guys have been able to accomplish over the years?
BB: They’ve done an incredible job in getting handed their role and working it to a master level. Obviously, I’ve seen them, I watch them, I study them, along with a lot of other guys in the league. They’ve done an incredible job and I’m really excited to learn some things.
Q: Where is the house you rented with your family and friends?
BB: I was in Miami, I’m sorry. Yeah, I was down in South Florida.
Q: You mentioned you study those players. Did you study them as more than receivers, but also as punt returners? How much do you embrace the role of punt returner?
BB: I absolutely love it. I think there’s something about it that it’s kind of an adrenaline rush that I get nowhere else. I truly do. I love returning. You know, I study them as players and really their whole game – as receivers, things they do without the ball and obviously punt returning, as well.
Q: How did your pre-draft visit with the Patriots go and what did you learn from it?
BB: It went well. You know, I didn’t go up there, but they came down and it went [well]. You know, obviously, we talked a lot. We talked a lot of football. We watched film, and I walked away with a great feeling about it.
Q: What coaches did you meet with?
BB: It was the wide receivers coach, Chad O’Shea.
Q: Is it correct that you were the valedictorian of Miami’s business school?
BB: Yes, sir.READ MORE: FDA Expected To Authorize Mixing COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Shots, Report Says
Q: How much pride do you take in balancing your football with that?
BB: You know, it wasn’t balancing my football with that. Anything I try to do, anything I write my name on, I try to do it to the best of my ability. That’s really all that was. It wasn’t that I was so smart or not even that I value academics over or even the same as football. I think that’s a key part of life. They can take away football and all those things, and they can’t take away your mind and the brain and the knowledge you have. But, it’s just a culmination of work and just trying to do everything that was put in front of me to the best of my ability.
Q: Growing up, were the Patriots a hard team to embrace because of their success?
BB: No, no. I appreciate greatness and I always have. You know, you have MJ [Michael Jordan] people and the Lebron [James] people, and I appreciate greatness. My family is from South Florida, so originally I had those roots in me. But, no, I’ve always appreciated greatness. I’ve loved watching them play, and just the way they do it in the right way, they’re an example for organizations all around the world.
Q: How much did the coaching change at Miami help prepare you for this opportunity? Did you also move from playing primarily outside to inside?
BB: Well, yeah, I’ve played both, and I still play both. I’ve had two different head coaches and three different receivers coaches in my four years at Miami. I was lucky enough to where each of those coaches, whether it be my position coaches or the head coaches, I was able to learn things from. Obviously, I have a great relationship with all of them. All of them have since either called me or texted me ever since they heard the news. So, it was really cool getting that variation of different coaches’ styles or this or that and being able to pick three or five different brains instead of a few.
Q: Were you elected a captain at Miami?
Q: The Patriots seem to have gone after guys who have shown leadership in that capacity. What has being a captain meant to you in terms of what you bring to the locker room?
BB: Well, first of all, that’s the greatest achievement, I think. Personally, you can achieve in football between the team and guys looking up to you and themselves electing you a leader of the team. First, I think it’s a matter of handling your business in the right way. I’ve always said I lead by example first because if you try to tell people what to do without showing them that you’re willing to do that yourself, then it’s kind of hard for them to get on board. So, I’ve always led by example, and then obviously there are times where a voice is needed. But, no, it truly does mean the world.
Q: Do you know Phillip Dorsett well?
BB: I do. Yeah, my freshman year, he was a senior. So, I got to know him. Obviously, I know he got traded over from Indy to the Patriots a little while ago. So, yeah, I do. I’m looking forward to working with him again.
Q: I see you have some tackles on your stat sheet. Is that from special teams?
BB: Yes, it is. It is from special teams. I’m very proud of those.
Q: Why is that?
BB: I mean, it’s nice trying to be well-rounded and helping the team in different ways other than catching and running and blocking. It’s nice to get some tackles on that stat sheet.
Q: Are you looking forward to learning under a guy like Julian Edelman who plays a similar role to you?MORE NEWS: Coronavirus In Massachusetts: Today's Developments
BB: Well, there’s no doubt that I can’t wait to go in there the first thing and learn from everybody – everybody from Edelman to Dorsett and everybody else. That’s the main thing that I’m going to be focused on coming in is just trying to soak up everything I can.