New England Patriots: Revisiting and Grading the Draft: 2010

5 of 11

Oct 19, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills middle linebacker Brandon Spikes (51) argues a call during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Round  #62 overall: inside linebacker Brandon Spikes

After two trades down the draft board netting extra picks, New England went right back to the University of Florida and snagged inside linebacker Brandon Spikes. Spikes had tumbled down the draft board after looking for a time as if he could be a first round pick. Spikes dropped due to a lack of athleticism, but his on-field style of leadership, enthusiasm, and strong play against the running game made Spikes a fit in the middle of the New England defense.


Spikes sparked the defense as a rookie before being slowed by injuries as a rookie. His downhill style of play and willingness to mix it up with offensive linemen who weighed 50 to 75 pounds more than him made him susceptible to injuries. Spikes came back in 2011 from another injury-plagued season to spark the improved defense on the way to the Super Bowl. By 2012 Spikes was playing all three downs and rarely left the field, but the additions of linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Jamie Collins saw Spikes losing playing time.


By 2013 Spikes was back to a two-down linebacker and a knee injury in the second half of the season further dipped into his playing time. By the end of the season there was conflict between Spikes and Belichick and after Spikes was punished for being late to practice he was placed on injured reserve before the Patriots’ first playoff game. As a free agent after the season it was clear Spikes was not returning and he left for division rival Buffalo where he overcame a slow start to have a solid season. However, being limited to a two down player made his price tag too high for Buffalo to bring him back after one season.



Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell (19) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas (29) in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

By the end of the second round there are few sure things and the draft becomes more of a crap shoot. Before New England drafted again at the end of the third round there were a number of interesting picks including three very good wide receivers in third round draft picks Brandon LaFell (#78 overall to Carolina), Emmanuel Sanders (#82 overall to Pittsburgh), and Eric Decker (#87 overall to Denver). Of course, there were duds such as defensive backs Jerome Murphy (#65 overall to St. Louis), Amari Spievey (#66 overall to Detroit), and Myron Lewis (#67 overall to Tampa Bay) taken right after Spikes.



Spikes was a solid player for a stretch of time in New England. His infectious style of play on the field motivated and invigorated the team and until things fell apart at the end he was a solid fit and a classic big bruising inside linebacker.


Next: Round Three