Thuney: "I Couldn't Be Prouder To Get Drafted By Them"

NC State senior offensive lineman Joe Thuney spoke with the New England media after being selected in the third round by the New England Patriots.

What position do you identify yourself with? What position do you think you're going to play in the NFL?
I think I see myself as more of an interior guy: more as guard, center. If it gets to a pinch in the game, I can go at tackle but it's really wherever coach wants me to play. And I have experience at all five so wherever he sees me best, I think that's the best fit for me.

Why do you see yourself as a fit as a guard?
Just on the interior, I feel more comfortable. I don't have the typical length of a typical NFL tackle but I feel like I move and pull and have the leverage on the interior.

When did you realize that you were probably going to play on the inside?
Well, throughout college I've always been open to whatever position the coaches needed. I've never had a set position in mind. As the process has gone on further and further, I've kind of realized where my strengths lie as a player and I think that the interior probably is where the coaches see that.

How important to you was it to be able to play whatever position the coaches needed?
It was really important - whatever the coach needed of me. They would text me the week before a game asking to play this position and whatever gave us the best chance to win is what I was willing to do. That's all that really matters, is winning.

How do you feel about competing for a job up here in New England? It could be difficult to get on the field. What are your thoughts on that?
Yeah, that's why I love to compete. The Patriots are a tremendous organization, one of the best in the NFL. I couldn't be prouder to get drafted by them. All I can do is just go in there and work my hardest and see what happens.

Did you have any contact with Dante Scarnecchia during the draft process?
Yeah, he came to my pro day and we sat down before and went over some film and board stuff and went over some plays and hashed that out. He worked me out with the different drills. I have a really good relationship with him, I think, and we got along well, and I'm going to be happy to play for him.

He's known to be tough on his players. Did you get that vibe?
The first thing I noticed was just that he's very passionate. I have to respect that. I love that about a coach, he's just very passionate about his players and the game of football. I really respond to that and I really look forward to working with him in the future.

You graduated before your junior year so what have you been doing with all of your free time?
I graduated with a degree in accounting in 2014. Then for the past year and a half, I've been working towards another degree in international studies and a minor in Spanish. I just wanted to expand my studies and explore everything that college had to offer.

What are you hoping to use your education for after your NFL career?
The NFL, you can't play in there for 40 years. You have to have a life after the NFL eventually. I'd love to be able to travel and work at the same time. I love seeing different parts of the world. I think if you could combine work with travel, it would be great.

Have the Patriots indicated what position they'd like you to play?
They have not. Just going in there with an open mind and hoping for the best.

How do you think playing in the ACC prepares you for the NFL?
I think the defensive lines you play each week in the ACC has prepared us. Shaq Lawson got drafted in the first round, Sheldon Rankins from Louisville, Florida State always has a really good, athletic defensive line. I think it prepares you really well just to see the competition and that caliber of players to compete against.

Some veteran offensive linemen say you have to have a nasty side to be good. Do you have that?
I think so, yes sir. I take pride in being a physical player and I'll play up to the whistle. I give everything that I have so I definitely think that I do.

Is there a position you're more comfortable with, or that you prefer playing?
Really no. I don't have one position in mind. Like I said, I've played all five and I feel really comfortable anywhere but I probably specialize in the interior.

Do you think it's a drawback having played as many position as you played?
I don't think it's a drawback. I think it just shows versatility. Football is an intense game and you never know when you have to switch from right guard to left guard, or center to guard or guard to center. I think it's an advantage to have experience at all five positions. We practice a lot so there is plenty of time to hone our technique and do the best that we can at each position. I think that it was a plus.

The Patriots just drafted Jacoby Brissett. What can you tell us about him?
No way. That's awesome. Great leader, great teammate, loved playing for the guy. He did a really good job at NC State, and I couldn't be happier to hear that news.

How do you pronounce your last name?
Thuney, the "H" is silent.

Did you learn anything from your time with Brissett that makes you think that he will succeed as an NFL quarterback?
He was always putting in extra time in the film room. He was there before practice, always before anyone else. He just is always so enthusiastic and always optimistic and positive. It was fun to play for him and he just exuded confidence.

What was Brissett like in the huddle?
He's very confident. He is very assured. Even if it's a bad play [inaudible], we had a 40-yard pass play, he's very level-headed, even keeled. You know what you are going to get from him, and just a great guy to play with.


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