Originally Posted by VJCPatriot
You appear to be the only person to me who likes the idea of Spikes as a Patriot. What do you like about his game and how would he fit into the Pats system. Is he a definite upgrade over Guyton? I'm assuming that Mayo locks down the other ILB spot.
Who do you think is the best passrusher in the draft?
Guyton is currently the nickelbacker, which was Roman Phifer's old passing down role. He's doing more blitzing and is someone BB believes can play ILB or OLB. I suspect he needs to get stronger and bulk up a bit more in the offseason, but you have to love his progress. So where would that put a Brandon Spikes? From what I've read, Spikes is decent in coverage and is quite good against the run, in other words he's got the basic skills and size to fit inside for NE. That would give the Pats the three man rotation at ILB they like, with some ILB/OLB versatility in the mix.
NE currently has Mayo and Guyton who have carved out roles for themselves this season. Looking at the developmental prospects on the roster:
Woods - The Way We Hear It - NFL pro football rumors and insider news from Pro Football Weekly
A source close to the Patriots tells us that the team is better equipped to handle the likely season-ending loss of OLB Adalius Thomas than initially believed. OLB Pierre Woods, a third-year career backup who was once thought to be nothing more than a situational pass rusher, proved against the Jets that he can stand up surprisingly effectively against the run. Also, his liability in coverage is somewhat mitigated by versatile LB Gary Guyton, an undrafted rookie revelation who can play both inside and outside.
Crable - based on Pierre Woods development, I think Crable is a very promising OLB prospect. We'll need to see how well he bulks up for 2009.
Redd - I love reading that he's won a practice player of the week jersey three times this season, that's how a UDFA makes a team. His biggest weakness in preseason games was lack of coverage skills and a need to be more explosive at the snap. He may never be a Dwight Freeney, but he could be a Willie MacGinest with hard work.
Ruud - IR'd in preseason, he'll have a year of Woicik, Nash, & Davis to get stronger and more explosive, his football pedigree is pretty solid, I'll be interested to see what he looks like next Training Camp.
Robertson - newly signed to the Practice Squad, he was one of the players I liked for OLB in the 2008 draft. He needs to get stronger, but with Guyton to help mentor him on the formula for success in NE I like this addition to the LB pool.
I've downgraded drafting an OLB in this draft based on the potential already on the roster. I like someone like OLB/TE Connor Barwin in the mid-rounds to add to the mix, but ILB looks to be the greater "need" as we anticipate Bruschi's retirement.
EDIT: Darn, I just noticed Barwin has jumped to #42 on NFLDraftScout's top 64.