After going undrafted in 2013, linebacker Brandon Copeland has a chance to make a name for himself with the New England Patriots this season.
Free agent linebacker Brandon Copeland agreed to a one-year, $1.05 million contract with the New England Patriots back in March.
Copeland — who is coming off two solid seasons as a starter with the New York Jets — was probably under the assumption that he had a good chance to be a starter for the Patriots. In his last two seasons, Copeland has totaled 77 tackles (13 for loss), 17 quarterback hits, and 6.5 sacks in 28 games (13 starts).
But the possibility of Copeland becoming a starter in New England ended on draft night when the Pats drafted two linebackers high in the second and third rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Clearly, the moves reflected the Patriots’ desire to make an immediate upgrade and impact on the defense this season in the form of Josh Uche (60th overall) and Anfernee Jennings (87th overall).
Although Copeland went undrafted in 2013, he didn’t really start playing until 2015 with the Lions — which leaves him with plenty of miles left in his tank. He also proved to be durable so far throughout his career by playing in 16 games from 2015-2018 and 12 in 2019.
Copeland — 6’3, 263 lbs — is another versatile linebacker on the roster that has experience playing the inside, outside, and middle linebacker positions, as well as being the type of player that Bill Belichick would love to find a way to utilize on his team.
Despite the abundance of linebackers that are all of a sudden in New England, having Copeland on the team could prove to be beneficial for the Patriots. He’s a player that has a Jerod Mayo type of build with the versatility of Kyle Van Noy — and both those players obviously excelled during their tenures in New England.
What sets Copeland apart from the rest of the group — besides his NFL experience — is his very inexpensive contract.
The Patriots could simply take advantage of that deal and use it as leverage to at least get them through a large part of this upcoming season. If he impresses, Copeland could be used as a trade asset somewhere down the line, too.
If he can find a way to make the team, don’t be surprised when he makes impactful and meaningful plays next season.
The current linebacker group for the Patriots includes Dont’a Hightower, Shilique Calhoun, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Chase Winovich, Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings, Terez Hall, De’Jon Harris, Brandon King, Caash Maluia, and Kyahva Tezino.