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Marte Mapu looking to be dominant in second NFL season

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By: Brian Hines

Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Mapu was a third-round draft choice last year.

The New England Patriots left the 2024 NFL Draft using seven of their eight selections on the offensive side of the football. Part of the reason why, as head coach Jerod Mayo explained, was the confidence in their second- and third-year defensive players taking a leap forward.

That group includes Marte Mapu, who New England selected in the third-round of last year’s draft. But after playing just under 18 percent of the team’s defensive snaps his rookie year, Mapu is now ready to take that leap.

“I feel like there was a lot of improvement to be made. That’s just how I view myself. I hold myself to a high standard,” Mapu said. “I just want to be back to what I’m used to being. That’s really it. I need to be having a presence on the field and be dominant. But it starts with the day-by-day.”

More opportunity for improvement should be available to Mapu this season, as the team moved on from safeties Adrian Phillips and Jalen Mills this offseason. Beyond more snaps being available, a healthy offseason (after he spent last year rehabbing a torn pectoral muscle) and more familiarity in the system could leave the arrow trending upwards for the 24-year old.

“This was a lot more of a complex defense than I thought it was going to be when I first came,” he shared. “I thought I was exposed to a lot in college. I knew a lot coming out of college. But, there’s a certain style when you come here. There’s a certain way that we do things.

“Instead of being one position in college that I could play and line up in multiple spots, I could line up and play different positions here.”

That versatility will be put into use, as Mayo shared in March that New England would continue to use Mapu — who was originally drafted as a linebacker — in multiple alignments (although he will start at safety).

For now, Mapu is taking it day-by-day wherever he is asked to play.

“Just focusing on what they tell me to focus on,” he said. “Whoever I’m involved with, I might just talk to them more that day. So, if I did something and I was on the field with Pep, then I’m probably going to talk to [safeties coach Brian Belichick]. If I did something and I was on the field with [Ja’Whaun Bentley] or Joe [Giles-Harris], Raekwon [McMillan], then I’ll probably talk to [inside linebackers coach Dont’a Hightower].

“But I like to know, just because whatever position we play, we’re going to have to be versatile anyways.”

Originally posted on Pats Pulpit