The Patriots Starting 5

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The Patriots Starting 5

In general, team Twitter accounts are pretty lame.

They're too corporate. They're super-biased. They're unconscionably PC. If a player gets traded or signs a new contract, the team account never tweets out the news until it's 100 percent official which is typically at least 48 hours after the rest of the world has reported it.

I understand why they do it, but it makes it tough to compete. It's hard to engage your fans when everything's so hunky dory.

Anyway, for all that bitching, I'm writing this post because last night during the NBA Draft, @Patriots tweeted out a question that I thought was pretty interesting:

In honor of the NBA Draft, which five current Patriots would you draft to start your basketball team? New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 29, 2012

Here's my answer:

C: Nate Solder

The Pats have only four guys on their roster who are taller than 6'6: Robert Gallery, Kyle Hicks, Sebastian Vollmer and Solder. So one of them has to play center.

Gallery's out because there's not enough trust yet. Hicks is out because I've never heard of him. Vollmer is out because my medical staff red-flagged that cranky back (which means he already has a promise from the Celtics). That leaves Solder as the starting center, and really, that's not so bad.

I wrote about this last week in my two-sport athlete post, but despite his enormous frame, Solder is a ridiculous athlete. He played tight end and linebacker in high school (and was All-State in both). He was a two-year letter winner in baseball, and played on the basketball team (where he averaged 15 and eight as a senior for the Colorado district champs.)

Plus, Solder's super smart he graduated Colorado with a 3.52 GPA and a degree in Biology so you know he sees the court well. We're probably talking about the next Vlade Divac here, or more likely, the next Bill Walton.

PF: Roberto Gronkowski

Gronk is an automatic, but only under the condition that agrees to play while wearing a No. 69 jersey with the name Soy Fiesta on the back. (I don't think this will be a problem).

Who's a good NBA comparison for Gronk? I'm thinking he's a little bit of Andrew DecLerq, only with better hands, a softer touch and a little sneakier in the post. I bet he's the kind of guy who's generally pretty graceful, but just clumsy and excitable enough to really wear you down. I'm talking a few stray elbows. A couple really hard fouls. He'd do it in an innocent way, but he'd beat the ever-living crap out of you.

El est basketball.

SF: Brandon Spikes

There's no natural fit here, but seeing how Solder is a little too quiet and Gronk is a little too goofy, I want to round out the front court with some angry muscle. And while I like the idea of handing the starting spot to Jerod Mayo, Spikes has an extra inch (he's still only 6'2), and a lot more misplaced intensity.

SG: Tom Brady
Yeah, I know. He's too slow. He can't jump. He's too white.

Where have we heard that before?

When the game's on the line, I'm calling a play for Brady maybe run him off a SolderGronkowskiSpikes triple screen? and I guarantee we'll go home winners.

(Unless we're playing the Giants).

PG: Matthew Slater
He's heady, athletic and versatile. He comes from a great family. He's a man of God, and I always look for that in an assist man. Sure, at 6'0, Slater might be a little smaller than your ideal NBA point guard, but he's solid. He's sturdy, like a right-handed Derek Fisher. (To be honest, I'm not sure if he's a righty or a lefty because I've never seen him throw. If he is a lefty, even better.)

I just know how much Bill Belichick loves coaching the guy, and with all that Belichick and I have in common, I assume the experience would be just as rewarding for me.

So, here's the final roster.

C: Nate Solder

PF: Roberto Gronkowski

SF: Brandon Spikes

SG: Tom Brady

PG: Matthew Slater

Game on!

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

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Hawkins says he passed up more lucrative deals to sign with Patriots

The Patriots went into Wednesday with what could have passed as the deepest receiving group in team history, yet by lunchtime they had added another. 

Former Browns and Bengals wideout Andrew Hawkins announced on Twitter (via uSTADIUM) that he had chose to come to terms with New England. He explained that the opportunity to work with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick proved to be enough to convince him that he should pass up more lucrative offers from other clubs.

"After giving it a lot of though, I've decided that I'm going to join the New England Patriots," he said. "Super excited about the opportunity, man, to join the reigning football champions. In Cleveland, I said it was about joining a contender, and the Patriots are the contender, the reigning champs.

"The program is top-notch, and you get the opportunity to play with the best quarterback and the best coach in NFL history, man, so it's super exciting. It was never really about the money. To be honest, I passed up on deals that were probably double the compensation . . . but it was all about winning for me at this point, and putting myself in the best position to do so."

Hawkins (5-foot-7, 180 pounds) may be a familiar name to Patriots fans as he caught four passes for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown against New England in Week 5 of last season. He finished the year with 33 catches for 324 yards and three scores. The 31-year-old has recently seen his name in the headlines as he completed his Sports Management degree at Columbia and graduated last week. 

The Patriots have receivers room that's currently pretty loaded with talent. Brandin Cooks, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola and Malcolm Mitchell figure to make up the top end of the depth chart, while former practice-squad wideouts Devin Street, Devin Lucien and DeAndrew White figure to compete for playing time as do undrafted rookies Austin Carr and Cody Hollister.

"Nothing's for sure. I got my work cut out for me. It's an opportunity," Hawkins said. "That's how I'm approaching it. Going there and seeing how I stack up with the best and try to earn my keep and prove my worth. I'm jsust excited to get there, get to work, and hopefully I can be part of something special and kind of join that Patriot legacy."