The New England Patriots announced their 2022 team captains on Wednesday, and for the first time in his career defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. has been named part of the group.
A fourth-round draft pick by the Patriots back in 2017, Wise Jr. has always been a vocal member of the locker room. Now, heading into his sixth season with the organization — making him its fourth longest-tenured defender — his teammates have recognized his leadership and voted him one of six captains.
“I was happy and very honored to be named a captain,” Wise Jr. told reporters on Thursday. “I think it’s an honor when your teammates think of you as a leader, and think of you as that person they want to lead during the season. So, it’s awesome.”
Like the other captains — with the exception of sophomore quarterback Mac Jones — Wise Jr. brings considerable experience to the role. He has appeared in a combined 84 regular season and playoff games through the course of his career, and has won a Super Bowl.
Heading into 2022, he is again projected to play a prominent role along the New England defensive line. Wise Jr. will be a starter-level member up front, together with Davon Godchaux, Lawrence Guy and Christian Barmore. As such, he will play roughly half of the team’s defensive snaps in any given week.
His importance to the operation extends beyond his on-field contributions, though.
“I like to say I’m a lead-by-example guy, the type of guy who likes to show everybody what to do but also pull people to the side and talk to them one-on-one,” he said. “That type of leadership, I think, is one of my best attributes.”
Wise Jr. is one of two first-timers voted as captains by their teammates, the other being the aforementioned Mac Jones. The veteran defender also spoke about the young QB, and what his growth as a leader looked like since he joined the Patriots as a first-round draft pick in 2021.
“Tremendous,” Wise Jr. said. “He’s one of the type of guys who definitely since Day 1 have been able to command the offense, and command greatness around him. He’s doing a great job from Year 1 to Year 2.”
Wise Jr. and Jones are now part of a group that also includes center David Andrews, linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, safety Devin McCourty, and special teamer Matthew Slater.