INDIANAPOLIS -- Thursday morning, I had the chance to talk to Patriots defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick. The second year defensive lineman started the year on the PUP list, missing the first six games before quickly jumping into the action.
Deaderick, a seventh round draft choice out of Alabama, admitted that it was "hard sitting out those first six weeks watching everybody else go out there and play while I'm sitting there and working hard every day." However, according to Deaderick, "it paid off."
Of course, we all know the impact Deaderick has had for the Patriots. He ended up playing in the team's final ten regular season games, picking up five starts. In those games, he came up with 17 tackles in two sacks (and came close on several more).
Deaderick closed out the year as the team's starting right end in the 4-3 base defense, and now that the team has switched to the 3-4 for the playoffs, he's starting in that base as well. When I asked Deaderick what defense he felt was his best fit in terms of technique, he simply pointed out the one-gap vs. two-gap differences, and remarked that "as far as what I fit into better, it doesn't really matter to me, I play them both." Sounds like a man who has accepted his unlikely role as a versatile player.
Brandon Deaderick is in just his second year in the NFL. He was a seventh round pick just over a year ago. He's proven he can be a starter in either the 3-4 or 4-3. Regardless of what base defense the Patriots run against the Giants on Sunday, it's evident that Deaderick will have some type of role.
On a side note, Deaderick is just two years removed from winning the BCS National Championship and is already playing for a Super Bowl title. I asked him what that meant to him, and Deaderick stated that "it means a lot. I guess I really don't see it how a lot of older veterans see it - they've been playing for so long, some haven't ever been in a playoff game and all that. Still, it means a lot, I'm not taking it for granted."