2. Patriots taking a risk with so many young linebackers
Re-signed was inside linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, who is a solid player with 200 tackles over the past two seasons. However, he’s no playmaker and certainly not a game-changer. Nothing to get too excited about there. So who else is in the room now? Let’s just say there are a lot of question marks and few answers.
First, the Patriots received linebacker Mack Wilson from Cleveland in exchange for unproductive edge Chase Winovich. Wilson had a solid rookie season for the Browns in 2019 with 82 tackles, an interception, and a sack. Since then, his career has gone downhill to a great extent due to injury. He’s a big question mark due to that fact.
The team also seems to be relying on two other injury-riddled players who have never played a snap for the team. They would be Raekwon McMillan and Cameron McGrone. McMillan had a nice rookie season for Miami in 2018, but after being signed last offseason as a free agent he never saw the field for the team due to a torn ACL prior to Week 1. He’s an injury risk, yet the team is seemingly going to rely on him. That’s another big question mark.
McGrone was a fifth-round draft flyer last season. He had torn his ACL in 2020 at Michigan. He was a decent player for Michigan, though he only played in 16 total games, which is not much of a sample there. He was solid if not spectacular.
Yet as expected, he never played a down for the team last season. If you detect a pattern here, you’re right on target. The Patriots’ personnel operation is placing high hopes on a largely untested college player who has never seen a down in the NFL. It’s risky business.