NEPD Staff Writer: Oliver Thomas
The 2008 NFL draft saw New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli invest in seven college prospects. The list included Tennessee linebacker Jerod Mayo, Colorado cornerback Terrence Wheatley, Michigan linebacker Shawn Crable, San Diego State quarterback Kevin O’Connell, Auburn cornerback Jonathan Wilhite and Nebraska linebacker Bo Ruud.
Lost in the shuffle was UCLA wide receiver/defensive back Matthew Slater, whom the team traded up to select in Round 5, pick 153 overall.
At the time, the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater was referred to as just that. The 6’0”, 210-pounder’s collegiate resume consisted of zero receptions, two rushes for minus-six yards, 26 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, one punt return for minus-seven yards and 34 kick returns for 986 yards and three touchdowns.
He was considered versatile. He was considered a man of high character. He was considered many things, but the Bruin was not considered one of the two best players from New England’s 2008 draft class.
In hindsight, he was. (more…)