In the 2012 Pats Pulpit Flag Football Draft, I focused on building a hypothetical team that could hypothetically defeat their opponents by winning the battles in open space. I picked up players such as Julian Edelman and Matt Slater. My argument: they could hold up on sides of the ball.
But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I had significantly overlooked what flag football is about: playmaking ability. Sure, the ability to operate in open space is a huge part of the game, and I still addressed that with my Amendola selection. Nonetheless, I valued versatility so much that I overlooked the fact that while Edelman and Slater have played some defense, they weren’t very good at it.
This draft, I’ve shifted my philosophy. I’m after players that can win the “t-shirts and shorts” competition. I want to be able to have my team make plays on both the short-to-intermediate game and downfield attack on offense. On defense, I’d like to be able to stick my best defenders on my opponent’s best receivers. But more importantly, I want my defenders to be versatile.
All of this being said, with my third selection, I’ve chosen perhaps the best “t-shirts and shorts” player the Patriots have: rookie wide receiver Aaron Dobson.
Dobson ran a 4.37 at his Pro Day, meaning he could very well be the fastest player on the team and the fastest player chosen in this draft. He’s explosive, he’s a decent route runner, has incredible hands, and oh yeah, he’s 6’3”.
You can forget the fact that he’s unpolished. You can forget the fact that he’s never played in an NFL offense. Flag football is a game where raw talent shines. Aaron Dobson has raw talent, perhaps more than any other player that has been selected thus far. And because of that, I believe I’ve just made the steal of the draft.
And while he might not be a great defender, I think he can be an awesome fit to cover a deep half of the field and perhaps shadow a tight end like Rob Gronkowski. In his senior year in high school, he recorded seven interceptions and returned two for touchdowns throughout his high school career. I’d also have confidence in him to win any jump ball situation. I’ve heard the saying, defensive backs are receivers who can’t catch. Well I have news for you: Aaron Dobson can catch.
With my first three picks, I’ve selected Danny Amendola, Aqib Talib, and Aaron Dobson. Each team has drafted well and defined their own strategy. But it’s with the Dobson selection that I believe I will start to separate from the pack.
And oh yeah, Alec, if it seemed like I was coming after you with my criticism of Edelman and Slater, it’s because I was. Get used to it too, because I’m not going anywhere.