The New England Patriots don’t need to draft a linebacker in this year’s draft, because they have a great starting trio at the position and more pressing needs elsewhere (like at wide receiver or at other positions on defense). However, Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported earlier today that the Patriots hosted Kansas State Wildcats linebacker Arthur Brown on a visit yesterday.
Brown brings great intangibles to the table, and he can be a good, three-down linebacker in this league. He is being regularly mocked in the first round of the draft now, and the former Kansas State standout is a rightful riser after being criminally underrated in draft rankings earlier. The Chicago Bears are among the linebacker-needy teams tabbed to select Brown in mock drafts, and Brown is a guy who can play inside and outside.
He’s a good all-around linebacker who could help the Patriots coverage at the position, but I doubt the Pats will draft him. The only chance the Pats have of taking him off the board is with their first-round pick, and I don’t think they will want to use a first round selection on a linebacker. It wouldn’t be a stupid move if they think Brown is good enough, but I don’t see the room for him. Jerod Mayo is one of the best linebackers around, Brandon Spikes is firmly entrenched as the starting middle linebacker (his amazing run defense and solid blitzing more than make up for his abysmal coverage skills), and Dont’a Hightower was a great first-round pick last year out of Alabama; he’s locked in as a solid starter for a long time to come on the strong-side.
The Patriots are poised to go “best available” in this draft so it isn’t inconceivable to see the Pats picking Brown, but I doubt he falls to the late second-round where he would be too good to pass up on for the Patriots. Wide receiver and cornerback are the two most likely options in the first round, and I think WR and CB are in that order of needs for the Pats in round one.
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