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NFL Draft 2023: Patriots fourth-round pick Jake Andrews already has a leg-up in New England

New England selected Andrews with the No. 107 selection.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

New England Patriots fourth-round draft pick Jake Andrews may be new to New England, but he won’t be completely new to their play style.

Andrews, who started 55 career games at Troy at both guard and center, played under former Patriots offensive line coach Cole Popovich last season. Popovich, who worked under Belichick in New England for five seasons before departing in 2020, frequently showed his Trojans’ lineman old Patriots’ film.

“We watched a lot of Patriots film and [Popovich] talked about them all the time,” Andrews said in his introductory conference call. “He used a lot of good examples from a lot of great players that have come through there that he had plenty of time with, which is made examples out of that for us.

“He gave us insight into what it means to be great you know and what it means to be a Patriot in general. He tried to mold us into that in the best way he could so yes, a lot of experience he tried to implement into us from the Patriots.”

The connection between Popovich/Andrews and New England immediately stood out when the selection was made. Andrews believes there were conversations between the parties, but with Popovich joining the Houston Texans coaching staff in late February it’s unclear how much he assisted in New England’s evaluation of the versatile interior lineman.

“There were a few conversations prior to him going to Houston and some obvious connections there,” Andrews said. “But yes, I think them knowing how much I appreciate Coach Popovich and what he meant to me and what he meant to New England, there’s definitely some connection there.”

Beyond learning from Popovich, Andrews got to experience New England first-hand as he took a Top-30 with the club prior to the draft. That led to meeting his new offensive line coach Adrian Klemm.

“I got to speak to him a little bit,” he explained. “Coach Klemm is an amazing guy and I really enjoyed my time spent with him, getting to learn some things and pick each other’s brain a little bit. It was fun and I am ready to get to work with him.”