BOSTON (CBS) — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick isn’t one to throw out a lot of praise for his players.
But he has some high expectations for a pair of second-year players for 2018.READ MORE: Mother Mourns Loss Of Lowell Murder Victim Dejah Jenkins-Minus: 'I'm Hurt, I'm Numb'
Joining SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday morning, Belichick told hosts Jim Miller and Pat Kirwan that he expects second-year defensive linemen Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers to make a big jump this season.
“Those two kids are here all the time,” Belichick said, via NESN.com’s Doug Kyed. “They’re the first ones in, the last ones out. They’re extremely diligent hard workers in the weight room and in the classroom and on the field. I think they’ll both make a good jump this year.”
Wise was drafted in the fourth round in 2017, 131st overall, but saw action in all 16 regular season games for the Patriots, recording five sacks and 16 tackles. He picked up two more sacks in the postseason, both of which came in New England’s Divisional Round win over the Tennessee Titans.READ MORE: Brad Marchand, Linus Ullmark Carry Bruins Past Canucks 3-2
Rivers, on the other hand, missed all of last season after he tore his ACL in the preseason. The third-round pick is poised to become a threat in New England’s pass rush after racking up 41 sacks over his four-year career at Youngstown State.
Both Rivers and Wise are off to strong starts this season, according to their head coach.
“I think both will build on their experiences as rookies and have more productive years this year,” said Belichick. “They’re certainly off to a good start.”MORE NEWS: Celtics Beat Short-Handed Raptors For 4th Win In 6 Games
New England brought in veterans Danny Shelton and Adrian Clayborn in the offseason to help stabilize the defensive line, which led by Trey Flowers, could be their deepest group on either side of the ball. If Wise can continue to grow and Rivers can live up to his pass-rushing abilities from college, that will further help strengthen an already-strong group on paper.