To get a measure of a player, it’s always interesting to find out if they had athlete posters on their walls, and who. For the Georgia native, it was Brian Urlacher and Barry Sanders. Instead of quarterbacks, he looked up to two tough guys who mowed down the opposition like blades of grass. He admires that strength because he, too has faced adversity.
The Denver Broncos have several players who were overlooked, under appreciated and dismissed by coaches and teams. Who came to chase their NFL dream, but went undrafted. Add Sloter to the list. Funny thing though about overcoming odds, it makes you tougher and instills resilience and self-confidence. His mindset is, “I’m not opposed to competition” regarding the four quarterbacks jockeying for position.
Ever wonder why talented players slip by? Most people, including the Sloter family figure, hey, if you’re good, they’ll find you. As many players can attest, being from a small high school often results in attending a small college and ending up on the undrafted list. Want to know why players that posses all the skills needed to succeed, end up in the NFL? Recruiting.
High schools that get kids recruited to colleges, have coaches who have attended seminars and learned how. These coaches have connections with recruiting services and agents. Friends at big city newspapers. They get you invited to combines and Shrine games. They make the right kind of tapes. It’s exhausting, time consuming and needs 100% parental involvement. If your school lacks that in a coach, it’s all on the player, plus mom and dad.
In comparison to the sophisticated coaching and recruiting network, being left to your own devices to make it, is like flying blind. If you do enough, you can find the small colleges or they find you, but the big schools have piles of CDs. It’s all about who you know. The Sloters knew no one, so Kyle ended up at Southern Mississippi. Once there, however, the coaches loved him.
At end of his red shirt season, the staff had him prepare to be the starter. After an off season of working towards this challenge, the ax came down. The coaches were fired and new staff brought in at Southern Miss. This head coach wanted his own hand picked quarterbacks and told Sloter to pick another position.
So by circumstance, the QB became a wide receiver, who switched because he loves the game. “I never gave up”. He racked up some yards and a TD, but his heart and love, was on throwing, not catching footballs. That lead him to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado where once again he was “one step late” in being in the right place, at the right time.
UNC had an experienced starter ahead of him, one who knew their pro-style type of offense. For the third time, Sloter had to watch others. The waiting ended during his senior year. That break out season, Sloter shattered record after record, including two games with six TDs.
He racked up 29 TDs to 10 interceptions. A 62.1% completion rate on 2,696 passing yards. He also rushed for 3 TDs.
Finally, he was getting playing time, the problem was, in total he only started 11 games. If he had stayed at Southern Miss that might not have mattered, this year’s draft had a couple QBs with limited starts, but UNC isn’t on a lot of radar screens.
“I’m battle tested and don’t shake easily”.
The Sloters had hopes, but they were dashed with the Irrelevant pick going to Kelly. Sloter still got the call; however, once again, he may be a step too late. Had he been signed last season or next, his chances of being on the 53 in Denver would be higher. The Broncos current roster of QBs is a youth brigade with little experience. It would seem odd not to call in a vet if both QBs go down, or Siemian is traded.
However, the almost 6’5″ 220 Sloter is closer to Lynch in height, arm strength and aggressive playing style than the smaller and conservative Siemian. Both Lynch and Sloter have been clocked throwing balls at 58 MPH. If the coaches want someone to run the Scout team who matches up better to the quarterbacks they face this season, Sloter may have a chance of doing just that.
During Training Camp, he’s been consistent in moving the chains, getting first downs and touchdowns. Granted, it’s been against the third string defense; however, it’s also with the third string offense. On Saturday, they dropped three passes in a row, despite this, Sloter’s was the lone TD of the scrimmage.
When asked about what type of pass he thought he excelled at, he said it didn’t matter, but he preferred three levels of choices. Give him a RB on a wheel, a slot on a crossing and a wide out on a go where he can read the defense and decide. Sloter said having only one choice, no matter the route, was his least favorite.
While he did come from a pro-style offense, he says he does need to refine his footwork, increase his speed on reading the defense during a play and learning protections. Overall, he feels his football IQ is his biggest asset having played in different systems with different teams.
Since arriving in Denver, he and roommate, fellow southerner, Isaiah “Lil Crawfish” McKenzie have been living in a hotel. If he makes the team, first on his to-do list will be getting an apartment, as hotel life has grown a bit stale. However, Georgia is his home state, it will still see plenty of him.
Sloter is an intense and driven young man who is focused on one goal: to not just be on a roster, but be a starter. He believes he has the “talent and football IQ to be in the NFL” and isn’t worried about all the fanfare going on around him. He’s “never looking over my shoulder”, he is looking downfield to the next wide receivers he can hit in stride and on time.
Who knows where his path takes him, but hopefully this time his step is right on time, like the passes he’ll throw.