After being drafted in the third-round by the Patriots in 2012, three years have passed and Jake Bequette has played in just eight games, spending the majority of his time on the practice squad.
In order to try and get the most out of Bequette and him on the field, the team has moved him from his defensive end position to tight end. The 26-year-old was sporting a new number last week — No. 85.
‘I’m not really sure that was my choice,’ Bequette said about his new number. ‘I just walked out here, see a jersey in my locker, and I just go with it.’
He spent all of last season on the practice squad — making his eight appearances in 2012 and 2013. It’s only been a few months, so Bequette knows there’s a lot to learn, but he’s already shown he can make a few plays, as he made a few nice catches last week.
‘It’s a daily process,’ Bequette said. ‘I’m making process and getting in that comfort zone, making it feel like you’ve always done that. I’m not there yet. There’s going to be a long way to go before I get there, but every day I make improvements. There are different things I see on film that give me confidence, and I think you’ll see that as I progress.’
It isn’t a totally new position as he played it high school and sparingly at Arkansas.
The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder may have a better shot at making the roster as a tight end rather than a defensive end, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a competitive group. He’s likely competing with Michael Hoomanawanui, Jimmay Mundine and AJ Derby for a spot, as Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler are locks.
Bequette knows he has his work cut out for him to make the team.
‘It’s a competitive unit, competitive team, competitive offense, and we have a lot of good players,’ Bequette said. ‘If I’m going to find a role, I’ve got to do some things that other guys may not do as well, and hopefully in the run game, I can bring something to the table there.’
Whether he makes the team as a tight end or not, it won’t be for a lack of effort. Between OTAs and training camp, Bequette was catching passes and seeking advice from anyone he could fine.
‘I had anyone and everyone out there throwing to me,’ Bequette said. ‘I was running routes in multiple states and locations just trying to get a better feel for the position and trying to get the point where I wasn’t totally rusty after five or six weeks off.
‘Everyone from my brothers to high school quarterbacks. People in Fayettville (Ark.), Little Rock (Ark.), everyone.’