Through the first five picks of this draft, it has become apparent that Alec and I have taken divergent paths to building our Patriots flag football teams. Alec has taken an approach of size and speed, focusing on both sides of the the ball. Meanwhile, I've focused on selecting two way players who are more quick than fast, strong, or big.
My next pick is a player who sticks to the theme of versatility. He's a player who can play multiple roles for my team, just like he does for the Patriots on most Sunday's. With my third pick in the draft, I'm choosing receiver/safety Matthew Slater.
Slater is a versatile player who has seen time at both receiver and safety during his first four years in the NFL. While he hasn't seen a ton of significant snaps on either side of the ball, that doesn't really scare me off. In his limited snaps on offense, Slater has shown that his blazing speed (4.44) makes him a dangerous deep threat. With Wes Welker and Julian Edelman already in the fold as my slot receivers who will run around the middle portions of the field, I need someone athletic who can take the top off the defense. I think I've found that weapon in Slater. At a minimum, he's a player that you at least have to respect down the field, and that should open up room for Welker and Edelman underneath. Slater has also been used on some end arounds and as a kick returner during his NFL career, so he should be fairly comfortable with the ball in his hands.
Defensively, Slater has considerable NFL experience, having been thrown into the mix at safety as a starter during part of the 2011 season. While he isn't a great safety, he managed to at least not embarrass himself during his regular season snaps at the position. He's extremely fast, has proven to be a good coverage player on special teams, and should be able to chase down whoever has the ball in the open field. Again, while he isn't an elite defender, I'm pretty sure he'll hold up better on that side of the ball than Brandon Lloyd, who was Alec's third round selection.
As we enter the second half of this draft, I'm excited about where my team is headed. Offensively, Slater makes my team multi-dimensional, as the deep ball must now be respected. Defensively, Slater is the type of player that can at least hold his own. While Alec has focused on one-way players with little experience on the offensive side of the ball, I've assembled a team that has a clear gameplan on offense, and will be respectable enough on defense.