Rapid reaction: Nate Ebner

April, 28, 2012
4/28/12
5:10
PM ET
The Patriots' selection of Ohio State defensive back Nate Ebner in the sixth round (197th overall) has similarities to when the team drafted Matthew Slater in the fifth round of the 2008 draft.

Like Slater, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Ebner makes his primary mark on special teams (he had three snaps at safety last season). At this point in the draft, teams are usually looking for one special characteristic that sparks them to take a chance on a player, and special teams will be Ebner's primary ticket. He has a rugby background and was considered Ohio State's best special teams player last season.

This reflects how the Patriots value special teams and how they will go off the board to add players in that area of the game. Like Slater in 2008, and seventh-round pick Malcolm Williams in 2011, Ebner isn't featured in many of the draft preview magazines.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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