As I posted on Friday, today marks the first round of what will be a six round draft of members of the 2012 Patriots roster for a hypothetical 7-on-7 flag football game between two teams coached by me and Greg Knopping. Greg will be making his first selection later on today, but since this whole thing was my idea, and I won the coin toss, I get the first pick.
Initially, I thought who I was going to select first overall was a no-brainer. But the more I thought about it, the more difficult my decision became. After all, this isn't the NFL - this is flag football. The players on my squad are going to have to be able to do much more than they are used to doing in a regular season game, and some of the skills that make a player dangerous in an 11-on-11 tackle football game don't translate nearly as well into the parameters of a flag football game. There is also lot of pressure that goes with picking first, as your first selection can dictate the tone of your entire draft, and if you don't hit the ground running, you could very well find yourselves fighting for your own dignity in the Losers' Bracket.
At the end of the day, though, I feel pretty confident in using my first round pick on Aaron Hernandez.
If this was 7 on 7 tackle football, I think I would have gone with Gronk here; he's a big, tall, lumbering behemoth, and I would just have Tommy B throw it up high and let Gronk do the rest if he needed to be physically brought down in order to stop the play. But since all you need to do in flag football is pull a flag off your opponent's belt, I think that Hernandez is actually the better choice between the two, given the boundaries of the game. He's fast, he's big, and he's fairly good at avoiding would-be tacklers (Gronk employs more of a truck stick technique that leaves a trail of bodies behind him). Plus, Hernandez is one of the most versatile players on the team. I can use him as a receiver, a running back, and a tight end on offense, plus he has the size to get off a decent chip block against a blitz before breaking into his passing routes. On defense, he has enough of a combination of size and agility to not get totally burned by receivers. I'll likely use him as a cornerback/safety player on the opposite side of the ball, and maybe send him in on a DB blitz once in a while, depending on what Greg's final squad looks like. The name of the game in flag football is versatility, and Hernandez has plenty of that.
Look at that; I've only made one pick, and I'm already in great shape. My playbook is wide open now with Hernandez's skillset, and the Brady to Herndo connection should form the backbone of my offensive strategy. All I have to do now is wait for Greg to buckle under the pressure, and the day is as good as mine.
Your move, Knopping.