In 1996 Tedy Bruschi came to the Patriots as a rookie defensive end. The Patriots checked his height, a bit more than 6 feet, and his weight, 245, and told him he was now a linebacker. "I didn't know what a hook drop was," he says, "or a flat drop." He knew how to get downfield under kicks and punts, though, and he used his speed and strength as a situation rusher to work his way into the starting lineup as a weakside linebacker. Now coach Bill Belichick thinks the fifth-year pro is ready to bust out. "He'll be on the field in practically every situation, every package we're in," Belichick says. "He's smart and he's strong. What he isn't is 6'3". So what? Neither is Zach Thomas."