FOXBORO -- It's officially "on" for the Patriots rookies.
The vans started dropping guys off at Gillette on Thursday. By Friday, Day 1 of mini-camp, a roster of 28 new players was released to the media: seven draft picks, two free agents, and 19 undrafted rookie free agents.
A small group met with reporters on the stadium turf before working out.
JAMIE COLLINS - LB - New England's first pick (No. 52 overall) in the 2013 draft. Collins is a 6-3, 250-pounder out of Southern Mississippi.
AARON DOBSON - WR - Selected at No. 59 overall, Dobson played football for the Marshall Thundering Herd, where former Patriots receivers Troy Brown and Randy Moss made their bones.
DURON HARMON - SS - The second of three picks (No. 91 overall) out of Rutgers University. Prior to the draft, he was projected as a late-round choice or free agent.
JOSH BOYCE - WR - Boyce was scooped up in the fourth round at No. 102. The Miami Dolphins were reportedly planning to draft the TCU receiver at 104.
Here's what the quartet had to say about their experiences so far.
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Q: Was there a moment after being drafted where the gravity of joining a perennial Super Bowl contender settled in on you?
COLLINS: "It hit me. Just by being a part of this team. It's New England. I've heard a lot about it. I'm just glad to be a part of it.
"It was a great feeling [to be selected first], but I have to do what I've got to do to stay in [the league]. Whether I'm first or last, it's the same. You've got to work to stay in."
BOYCE: "I don't think it's quite hit me. I think it'll hit me when I play a game. I'm glad I'm here, though."
DOBSON: "It was a great experience. The draft . . . just getting the call. It was unexpected . . . with how good this program is. It's exciting.
"I'm just ready to see what it's going to be like. We got a gist of it yesterday; we were here in meetings all day yesterday, but today we have practice. I'm just ready to see what it's going to be like."
HARMON: "I think they're excited for me, all my friends back home. They were definitely excited for me. I think I had like, 400 text messages that night, so it just shows the utmost support I had from friends and family back home."
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Q: It's no secret the Patriots offense is a complex one. How do you plan to approach it?
DOBSON: "You've just got to stay focused. You've got to study it. You've got to know it. You can't expect to come in and just look over it a little bit and know it. You've got to study it just like at school.
"You've definitely got to stay on your toes out here. You've definitely got to know your playbook. You're only out here for a few days [at mini-camp] so you've got to learn quick and pick up on it fast.
"I've been playing football for so long that I've seen playbook after playbook. A playbook is a playbook. It might be a little bit hard, but it's nothing I can't handle. It's different. Everything's different. You've just got to stay on top of it."
BOYCE: "You've just got to study, so that's what I'm doing. That's just the way it is, so you've just got to go with it.
"It's serious. This is my job now, so it's real serious."
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[To Harmon] Q: What's it like to have two of your Rutgers teammates taken in the same draft?
HARMON: "It's very special. Any time you can enjoy this experience with people you already knew and build a great close bond with this is just very, very amazing. And I'm very excited and appreciative to be in this position that I'm in today."
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Q: How similar or different was your college defense and the one you're getting a look at now?
HARMON: "There are some similarities. But it's a playbook and my approach to learning new things is, it's fun. This is what I want to do the rest of my life. I like learning. I like learning new schemes, I like learning more about football. It's not really daunting, it's more fun. It's more of a great challenge I want to conquer, to learn the playbook as fast as I can.
"To be a good football player you have to be a film junkie, that's what [former Scarlet Knights, current Tampa Bay coach Greg] Schiano taught me at Rutgers University. He definitely instilled great values in us when it comes to being a football player with learning the playbook, writing notes, being in the film room. And that's something I'm very appreciative of with Coach Schiano.
COLLINS: "I'm just trying to learn the ropes around here, get on the right track, and do whatever I can just to be a part of this team."
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[To Collins] Q: How did losing your parents at age six shape your current perspective?
COLLINS: "Adversity comes to everybody, it's comes every day, you just have to fight through it."