FOXBORO -- Cole Croston had a little bit of a head start.
When he arrived at Gillette Stadium as an undrafted free agent following this year's draft, the 6-foot-5, 315-pounder already had a good idea of what to expect.
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Not necessarily in terms of the intricacies of the offense or the speed of the game. But the culture? He had some experience with the culture.
"The funny thing is, in the Iowa meeting rooms, we always heard a lot of 'Do your job,' " Croston said. "And that’s the same thing around here. And it’s really prepared me for this level because Coach Belichick says those things every single day."
Croston was perhaps the biggest surprise addition to New England's initial 53-man roster this weekend. He has the ability to play both guard and tackle and looks like the primary backup for interior starters like Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason.
“It’s kind of come full circle for me,” Croston said over the weekend. “I was a walk-on at Iowa, and I was undrafted coming out of college. I had my shot with the New England Patriots, and I was able to achieve that goal.”
Croston only received Division III offers to play college football coming out of high school as a 225-pound senior, but he made the Hawkeyes as a walk-on where he was prepared for his post-grad life as a member of the Patriots by playing under head coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive line coach Brian Ferentz.
Both members of the Ferentz family worked under Bill Belichick at different points. Kirk Ferentz served as Belichick's offensive line coach when the two were together in Cleveland, while Brian Ferentz, Kirk's son, served as Patriots assistant before making his way back to Iowa to coach under his father.
When Croston's college career came to an end and it came time to think about playing professionally, he had one landing spot in particular in mind.
"I had contact with coach [Dante] Scarnecchia and I had heard what kind of coach he was and the legendary things he had done," Croston said. "Coming out of college, I was super interested in doing that kind of thing and being part of something bigger than me."
Now, after coming into the summer as one of the long shots on the 90-man roster in New England, he has a spot where he hoped he would.
Croston is one of four undrafted players to make this year's initial 53-man roster out of training camp, joining tight end Jacob Hollister, linebacker Harvey Langi and defensive tackle Adam Butler.