You gotta hand it to Patriots coach Bill Belichick. One day after joking about how he doesn’t care much for draft analysts, Belichick really makes them scratch their head. But for those who know them well, this is just classic.
With the 197th overall pick, the Patriots selected someone named Nate Ebner. He’s allegedly a safety from Ohio State, but he barely played. Some special teams, and a backup nickel corner. Oh, and didn’t play high school football, either.
Google it. Turns out, he’s a rugby star. Played at Ohio State, and seemed to do so well. Look at this Youtube package. Fast, tough, all the tools. But anyway, this is great. Forget all the scouting, pouring over tape, talking with coaches, watching people practice, looking at medicals, etc. Just pick the best rugby player.
How will it turn out? Who knows? Ebner was pretty level-headed about the whole thing.
But you gotta love Belichick for bucking convention and taking a shot. If you’re keeping score at home, the Patriots have had a soccer player, college wrestler, Australian Rules football player, college lacrosse player, and now rugby star in uniform. Awesome.
How does rugby compare to football?
“I get that question a lot and I never know how to answer it,” Ebner told reporters on a conference call. “It compares in the fact that we hit each other and there’s a lot of running and some big dudes. I don’t know that it compares a lot. I’d say just the speed of the game and the tackling are similar. They’re very different sports, I guess the fact that when it’s time to come down and hit somebody as I’m running down on kickoff, I’d say that’s very similar to the time it comes down you’re in a rugby game and you have to hit someone. The tackling I guess is similar. Not too similar – they’re two different sports.”