Tuesday, May 05, 2015

New England Patriots 6th round pick A.J. Derby has a tie to Bill Belichick

Former Arkansas TE A.J. Derby was a 6th-round draft pick of the New England Patriots (AP Photo)

By Kevin Duffy

May 2, 2015

FOXBOROUGH -- This may date Bill Belichick a bit, but soon he will have coached two generations of players from one family.

A.J. Derby, taken by the Pats in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, is a converted quarterback who has size and athleticism at tight end. His father, John, was a linebacker who appeared in one career game with the Detroit Lions and spent a training camp with the Cleveland Browns when Belichick was head coach.

"He didn't say much (about playing for Belichick)," Derby said on a conference call Saturday. "He went through one camp so he was just trying to make a spot. I don't think he really knew much about the NFL. He was just scraping at the bottom."

Some other notes from A.J. Derby, who spent just one college season at tight end:

*On moving from quarterback to tight end: "It's been kind of a long road. I was pretty stubborn about playing quarterback early in college, and that's the reason I ended up leaving Iowa to go to JuCo and then to Arkansas. But I ended up meeting with coach (Bret Bielema) and it worked out great to be a tight end."

*On former Arkansas teammate Trey Flowers, a third-round pick of the Pats: "All through the combine process, everybody asked me who the hardest guy to block was. And I said Trey Flowers every time, because I believe that. He's a great player and the Patriots are very lucky to have him in the organization."

*On favorite tight ends: "Growing up, being an Iowa guy, I was a huge fan of Dallas Clark. And I like to watch Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Rob Gronkowski."

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