New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Jun 12, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Marte Mapu (52) pulls a sled at the Patriots minicamp at Gillette Stadium. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

If you think we’ve been hyping up Patriots rookie linebacker Marte Mapu quite a bit over the past few weeks, it wouldn’t be an unfair assessment. The third-round pick has shown a lot to be impressed by through OTAs and Minicamp.

But now, one of Mapu’s own teammates is getting on the hype train. After practice on Tuesday, linebacker Matthew Judon had high praise for the Sacramento State product.

  • “I think just his speed and how big is he. He runs like a free safety, but he stands like a linebacker or an EDGE player,” Judon said when asked what stands out to him about Mapu.

    “That’s another guy that can play all three levels,” Judon added, referencing an earlier comment about how many positionally versatile players – or ‘Unicorns’ as he called them – the Patriots currently have on their roster. ”

    “I think you have people like that here all the time. You have people like Jamie Collins or [Dont’a] Hightower and stuff like that. It’s just new names. It’s just new names in that situation,” he continued.

  • Those are big names to be throwing around in comparison to a player that’s never played an NFL snap. In his 10-year All-Pro NFL career, which came entirely with the Patriots, Hightower was the leader of three Super Bowl-winning defenses and was named to the Patriots’ All-2010s and All-Dynasty teams. Collins also had a very successful 10-year career, most of which was spent with the Patriots.

    “And I’m not saying they’re going to be as good as those guys or leave a legacy as those guys, but they have a chance. And that’s all you kind of ask for,” Judon said when talking about the Patriots’ defensive rookies as a whole. “And so with [Mapu] – when he comes out here, when he puts on those pads, he’s going to have to show it. It’s easy to do it in shorts and shirts. But I think he has a ability and a uniqueness to be a really good player.

    If Mapu can have a career even in the ballpark of Hightower’s or Collins’, the Patriots made the right choice at 76th overall. He’s got a long long way to go to get there, but he’s clearly impressed his teammates early on.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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