The New England Patriots, with a round 5 18th pick, chose wide receiver Matt Slater. At 5'11" 195 lbs, he'll fit best as a slot receiver and hopefully become a chain mover like Wes Welker. He's an excellent kick returner so the current thinking is Matt will serve the Patriots best on special teams. When asked what it takes to play special teams, he had this to say:
"For me, the mindset is relentless effort. You go out there and it’s a fight; it’s a battle every play down there. But you have to have the desire to get down there, the “want-to” to get down there and make a play. For me, it just comes from the love of the game I have that’s been passed on from my dad. I’m just trying to get down there and I want to be the guy to make the tackle every time. I want to be right on the ball, out there having fun with my teammates, and realizing that that’s a very important part of the game. That’s a part of the game that often goes overlooked at the high school and college level, but it can really help you win and lose ball games, so I take this very seriously."
Matt runs a 4.4 40 yard dash as evidenced by his 3 TD returns during UCLA's 2007 season! He is super serious about special teams and really takes pride in his role as a special teams player:
"It might make it easier; I’m not real sure. But I know that’s something I have experience in and something that I love to do, and I’m not sure if everybody feels that same way when it comes to special teams. I know that that’s something I’m looking forward to contributing at and luckily I have been around there and I’m looking forward to continuing it in New England."
Oh, did I mention his father is HoF'er Jackie Slater ? Given his success at UCLA, Matt projects to have good genes.
Matt Slater, welcome to the New England Patriots.