FOXBORO -- Scouting college football players is a fickle science. A player who said he wouldn't enter the draft unless he was given a first-round grade, may end up declaring and not hear his name called until the fourth. A player argued as a second-round corner, could walk away from the draft known as Mr. Irrelevant.
The scouting report on Patriots fourth-round draft pick Vincent Valentine seemed to be relatively consistent, though.
"Valentine needs to carry more 'good weight' and commit to the work that has to be done leading up to the game," wrote Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.
"Motor spurts, doesn't rev, looking like a different player from snap-to-snap . . . Tape also shows underachieving traits and inconsistent reps due to spotty technique and effort," said Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.
“He’s not always in the best of shape, and at times his play reflects that,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock Omaha.com.
Even Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio hinted that the 6-foot-4, 329-pounder from Nebraska might need to put in some extra work to make sure he's well-conditioned.
"This guy's a big, strong guy . . . He's a massive guy," Caserio told Sirius XM NFL Radio. "We'll get him in here, try to get him going early, get him in shape, and try to take advantage of the things he does well."
Valentine met with Patriots reporters for the first time on Thursday, and he said that he understood concerns about his conditioning and his on-the-field effort -- he had just 10 tackles in 10 games in 2015 -- have dogged him.
Though his time in New England thus far has been short, he stood on the Gillette Stadium turf Thursday, wearing a No. 99 practice jersey, and said that he's already trying to disprove those pre-draft perceptions.
"The past is the past," Valentine explained. "I’m going to use that as motivation. I’ve got a lot of things to do out here. But the past is the past. I’m trying to put the whole thing at Nebraska behind me and just become as good as I can here. I’m not really worried about how things went at Nebraska — I know things could have been better — but I’m in a good spot now, and I think the coaches are ready to bring me along and I’m ready to be as good as I can."
He added: "[I'm] working hard and putting the team first, and trying to be the best that I can. I know guys had issues with me in the past, I guess, with not working hard, but I’m here and I’m trying to prove that I can do that and I’m willing to work and I’m willing to be the best that I can."
Though it was Valentine's first face-to-face introduction with local reporters, he took every question about his effort and seemed to do his best to respond honestly. He said he came ready to hear those types of queries.
Many of them he accepted with a smile.
"It’s their opinion," Valentine said of his critics, "but they can’t stop me from putting in work every day and bettering myself. I kind of tune that out and not pay attention to that as much. I’m in the position I’m at right now for a reason — it didn’t just happen, it didn’t just fall out of the sky. But I’m just excited to be here."
Valentine said that the Patriots showed plenty of interest in him leading up to the draft. After he was selected, Caserio said that Valentine caught the team's eye — as did Valetine's teammate Maliek Collins, a penetrating defensive tackle taken by the Cowboys in the third round.
His size, strength, and his versatility to play from nose tackle out to five-technique all helped him in the organization's eyes. So too did the fact that he played for a respected coach in Nebraska's Bo Pellini.
Despite everything that he had going for him, Valentine knew he would have to prove to the Patriots and every other potential employer that he would be willing to stand up to the vigors of pro life before they determined that he was worthy of a draft choice.
"I think I had to convince everybody," he said. "That was the word on the street about me. Just trying to convince everybody that I’m ready to work, I’m ready to be a pro, I’m ready to put in all the work that you need to do."
Will he be ready to grab hold of a job as part of the team's rotation on the interior with Malcom Brown, Alan Branch and Terrance Knighton? That remains to be seen.
First things first. He has to prove the scouting reports wrong.