FOXBORO -- Deatrich Wise was paying attention. He watched as Trey Flowers burst onto the scene for the Patriots in the second half of last season, and he noticed as Flowers racked up six tackles and 2.5 sacks in Super Bowl LI.
For Wise, an Arkansas defensive end with NFL aspirations, seeing his former college teammate make the impact he did in his second season as a pro was encouraging.
"I kind of said, 'If he can do it, I can do it,' " Wise relayed on Thursday.
Now that Wise has followed Flowers to New England, he's making sure he's learning as much as he can from the player who was dubbed "Technique" by his teammates last season.
"He's a big mentor," Wise said during his first in-person meeting with reporters since being selected in the fourth round of this year's draft. "The advice he gives me is pretty much take one day at a time. Don't try to think ahead. Be in the now. He's been helping me out here and there with the plays and what I have to do. It's been great."
Wise says he's careful not to suffocate Flowers, but he knows he has a lot to learn, and that there are few who are better to learn from.
"I try to follow him a little bit. I try not to get too close to him," Wise said with a laugh. "Try to follow him, see what he does, see how he works, and do the same."
At 6-foot-5, 270 pounds, Wise is bigger than Flowers (6-2, 265), but they're similar in that they both have long arms and both have some versatility along the line of scrimmage.
Rob Ninkovich, meanwhile, fits a different profile on the edge. But Wise has tried to absorb everything he can from the veteran leader of the defensive end group as well.
"Today we [were] doing drills and Rob pulled me to the side and just taught me just some little things I could learn on my pass rush, the drills, how to improve things," Wise said. "He's taught not only me but [rookie third-round pick] Derek [Rivers] as well. He's also another mentor type. Like an older brother-slash-father-like figure on the d-line."
Ninkovich is more of an edge-to-linebacker player rather than the edge-to-tackle player Wise seems to be, but the rookie knows that he can refine his game simply by watching the 12-year pro go to work.
"He's very technical," Wise said. "Everything he does is precise. There's no lag. Everything is perfect . . . I'm really looking forward to getting my technique from him, fine-tuning my skills, and just learning everything from him. Whether it's small things he sees in the offense or just little techniques."
Whether it's Flowers or Ninkovich, Wise is surrounded by knowledgable peers from whom he can learn. Less than a month in to his pro career, he certainly sounds like an eager student.