Until the NFL and the players put aside their difference and realize how much the game means to fans, the players will be locked out and free agency is on hold. Litigation between the league and the players is set to be heard in court on April 6. The draft will take place no matter what, but hopefully there is a new CBA before then. In the meantime, I’ll evaluate each position on the Patriots’ current roster and look at potential draft picks or free agents (should a new CBA be in place) that could be brought in to improve the position or add depth. Today’s position audit looks at the inside linebacker position.
Current Players on the Roster:
- Jerod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Gary Guyton, Dane Fletcher
Possible Free Agent Pick-Ups:
- Tracy White
Possible Draft Picks:
- Mark Herzlich (BC), Casey Matthews (Oregon)
Inside linebacker is probably the strongest, deepest position on the defense. Jerod Mayo was selected to the Pro Bowl and Brandon Spikes did well his rookie year as an early-down starter. Gary Guyton is a young veteran who excels in coverage on passing downs. Fletcher showed some sparks and is a solid special teams contributor. On the free agent front, Tracy White was on the team last season as a special teams ace and was very productive in that role. In terms of the draft, Mark Herzlich is a local product whose tremendous personal story (beating cancer) is an attractant and he is certainly a Patriots-type player. He can grow into a role on the team and contribute on special teams. Ditto for Casey Matthews, who is an undersized and but under-talented player who could develop into a specific role on the team while playing special teams.Other than those players, I don’t see the Pats making many, if any, moves with the position.
Previous Position Audits: