Watts & Takitaki ready to make an impact early

FOXBOROUGH – Patriots fans have a few new names to start learning this season and two of them met the media for the first time on Thursday.

Defensive tackle Armon Watts and linebacker Sione Takitaki both spoke for about 10 minutes each following Day 4 of voluntary offseason training.

Watts is entering his sixth season in the league, but this will already be his fourth team. Watts played his first three seasons in Minnesota and then each of the last two years in Chicago and Pittsburgh. The big man from St. Louis, Missouri is excited to be a Patriot and felt like New England showed him the most love in free agency.

“They were one of the teams that showed interest early on,” he said. “Of course, Pittsburgh kind of showed some interest. You know, at the end of the day, I think I felt New England wanted me more, with talks we were talking about. It’s a good organization. The record (last season) wasn’t a deal breaker for me because I know this is a great defense. What those guys do, I know they have great coaches.

“I knew Coach Mayo was going to bring something different to the organization and that’s kind of what stood out to me.”

Takitaki is also entering his sixth NFL season, but this is the first time he’s played anywhere other than Cleveland. The linebacker from Fontana, CA attended BYU and had a former Patriot who happens to be a fellow Cougar alum each out to him to tell him how much he’ll love playing in New England.

“Shout out BYU, go Cougars, man,” Takitaki said with a smile. “But (Kyle Van Noy), that’s my dude. That’s my guy. Once he saw the news he hit me up, I hit him up just trying to get familiar with the place…it just goes back to how versatile they are…I’ve always watched (KVN) being a BYU guy, it’s easy to watch. I’ll be picking his brain.

“He is going to the Ravens, so we gotta be chill with how much we talk to him, but that is my guy. That’s big bro. He’s definitely kind of helped me along since I’ve been in the league just having chats and stuff. He reached out, told me congrats and that I was going to like what they do here.”

Both guys are also looking forward to learning under Mayo and new linebacker coach Dont’a Hightower.

“It’s only been a few days, but it’s been awesome to be learning from Hightower and just be just being a sponge,” said Takitaki.

“I think he relates to the players, of course,” Watts said of Mayo. “He was a great player here. He knows the ins-and-outs of this city, this organization and so, he kind of knows the blue print. And, when you know the blueprint, you can always hand it down to guys and I’m pretty sure – what I’ve witnessed – a lot of the guys are willing to follow his blueprint.

“I think it’s going to be fun.”

At a time where New England needs guys who are willing to work through the growing pains and legitimately want to play here, two of the first free agent signings in the Wolf/Mayo era certainly feel like they’re completely on board and ready to be part of the change.

“I just want to go out there and work hard, prove these guys right for bringing me in and giving me a chance,” added Takitaki.