Patriots Flag Football: Greg's Sixth Pick

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Knopping cements his victory with his sixth and final selection in the 2013 Pats Pulpit Flag Football Draft.

Come on guys, you’re making this too easy. I mean, I thought this was a four team draft. I thought that, five full rounds in, I’d be grasping at straws to pick up whatever role players I could at this point. I’ve already got three top-end receivers and two top-end defensive backs, what more could I ask for?

Okay, maybe a little more. Five rounds in, I’m ready to select another player that will make my team significantly better. A player that will be able to fill the remaining holes in my scheme. With my final pick, I’ve decided to choose defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich.

At this point in the draft, I’ve drafted all of my skill position players. We’ve all got the quarterback, but I’ve got the skill position players on both sides of the football that I believe can lead my team to victory. The one area I was lacking a bit, where I believed that my opponents were a bit ahead of me pass rush and blocking.

Let’s start with the blocking portion. In a game of flag football, you really don’t need more than one blocker. Tom Brady has the quickest release in all of football. The only thing you need your blocker to do if chip and offset the timing of the incoming blitzer. Sure, a good pass rusher can help and be an x-factor in certain situations when the receivers are covered. But when you’ve got the three receivers I do – Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, and Josh Boyce – it’s not going to be very often that they’re well covered.

In college, Rob Ninkovich was versatile. He contributed as both a long snapper and as a tight end. That is pretty much the perfect combination for a flag football lineman. He’ll snap the ball to Brady, block any potential incoming blitzers, and is still a guy who has experience catching the football, so you won’t be able to leave him unaccounted for.

Of course, Rob Ninkovich’s greatest value will come on the defensive side of the ball. In that area, Ninkovich will be my primary pass rusher, and will also help patrol the short middle zone. He’s proven to be a good coverage linebacker and will help chip and cover tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski, and can also spy any threats coming out of the backfield. When I actually use my blitz, there are few I would rather have than Ninkovich to rush the passer. He’s proven to be one of the most consistent Patriots in that area over the last three years, and considering the talent of my two cornerbacks (Arrington and Talib), he may actually have a chance to get to Brady before he releases the football.

And so concludes the draft for my squad. And although I’ve clearly already got this one in the bag, I’ll recap who I’ve drafted for you anyways:

Round 1, Danny Amendola: Top receiver the Patriots have. Will patrol the slot and the middle of the field even though he has the versatility to move outside

Round 2, Aqib Talib: Best cover corner on the team. He’ll guard the opponent’s biggest weapon and their top outside threat.

Round 3, Aaron Dobson: Biggest receiver on the Patriots, and perhaps their biggest versatile threat. Dobson will open up the deep half of the field for my offense.

Round 4, Josh Boyce: Perhaps the most athletic player on the Patriots’ roster, Boyce will be able to line up anywhere on the field on offense. His ability to separate at all levels of the field will be crucial to my offensive attack.

Round 5, Kyle Arrington: The Patriots best option to cover quick and shifty players, Arrington will patrol the slot and guard players such as Julian Edelman.

Round 6, Rob Ninkovich: Versatile defensive lineman, linebacker, snapper, and tight end. Ninkovich will do a little bit of everything.

My strategy in this draft was clear. Flag football is a game of offense and athleticism, and I went out to select the best the Patriots have in that area. With three of my top four selections, I chose the three players that will perhaps be the Patriots number one, number two, and number three receivers come opening day.

I’ll have Tom Brady throwing these guys the football. And all three of my receivers compliment each other really well – I’ll be able to attack every area of the field.

I’m also not worried defensively. While flag football is certainly a game of offense, it’s about opportunity on defense. Aqib Talib and Kyle Arrington can lock-down different types of players, while Rob Ninkovich will patrol the short middle of the field, chip tight ends, and provide the occasional pass rush, along with designated defender Jamie Collins. While the deep half of my field could be exposed, I like the idea of the 6’3” Dobson and the super-athletic Boyce back there. They may not have the instincts of an experienced defender, but they will be able to win jump balls and close out quickly.

So what do you think? Should we let Rich and Adam make their final selections? Or should we just call this one now and hand me the chmapionship belt (that I will have to get custom made for like $200 but it will totally be worth it)?

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