If there was a perfectly Bill Belichick pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, it was when he used a fifth-rounder on Navy long snapper Joe Cardona.
Now, they just have to see when he’s able to join them.
Picking a specialist with ties to his father’s old school (who also plays lacrosse) checks off a lot of Belichick boxes, but Cardona said he’s not sure when he’ll be cleared to join the team because of the service commitment that comes with his degree.
“The decision is out of my hands,” Cardona said, via Adam Kurkjian of the Boston Herald. “Right now I’m prepared to be the best football player I can be for the New England Patriots and the best naval officer I can be. Whatever duty I’m doing at the time, I’m doing it. I’m just prepared to do my best.”
Cardona’s the first Navy graduate to be drafted since the Packers took Bob Kuberski in the seventh round of the 1993 draft. Two others, tight end Kevin Hickman (Detroit Lions, sixth round, 1995) and offensive lineman Mike Wahle (Packers, second round of supplemental draft, 1998) did not graduate from the Academy.
Kuberski served two years in the Navy before joining the Packers. The Patriots also signed former Navy running back Eric Kettani as an undrafted rookie in 2009. He made their practice squad in 2011, but was recalled by the Navy, before bouncing through stops in Washington, Kansas City and Jacksonville.
Of course, Roger Staubach served a five-year commitment after being chosen by the Cowboys in the 1964 draft, eventually joining the team in 1969.