After sitting through minicamp and OTA’s, we’ll be taking a look at each of the new guys over the next couple of weeks to see exactly what we’ve learned from published news reports about each of them heading into Training Camp next month. Today we’ll look back at what we’ve heard from reports on 2nd round draft pick – linebacker Brandon Spikes.
|The second round pick out of Florida appears poised to make an impact this season (PHOTO CREDIT: Icon/SMI)|
Spikes so far has received glowing reviews, and for now appears to be one of the guys to watch when camp begins next month in New England. Recently Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald asked, will Brandon Spikes supplant Gary Guyton at inside linebacker? That question now becomes a bit more interesting considering the fact that Guyton just got a two-year contract extension, so Belichick must like what he’s seen from Guyton so far after the minicamps.
For most fans we’re left now to wonder where Spikes will fit into this defense. Jeff Howe of NESN.com suggests that Spikes could give Belichick the option of moving Guyton to the outside to better utilize his speed.
Spikes had a lot thrown at him during the recent camps, with the Boston Globe reporting that the Patriots threw a lot at the rookie mentally, testing him at calling the defense and making pre-snap reads. So far he seems to be doing a lot of good things, and most feel he’s expected to see some action on the field this season. Rich Garven of the Worcester Telegram says that after watching Spikes, he appears to be a player who will definitely contribute immediately this year. The Globe also reported that Spikes was calling plays when he was on the field for seven-on-seven work during minicamp.
He’s also spent time working with the scout team during one of the recent sessions, showing just how either wide open or deep the linebackers are.
Former Tennessee Volunteer and current Patriot Jerod Mayo has already agreed to set aside their college rivalry (Tennessee and Florida are bitter rivals) and he’s looking forward to playing with Spikes.
“He was a great player at Florida,” Mayo said. “Those are kind of our rivals, if you want to call it that, even though they beat us the last, about, five times. I wouldn’t really call it a rivalry right now at this present time, but he was a good player in college.”
Spikes admitted to Chris Price of WEEI.com that learning the defense has been a little like a “whirlwind”, but says “it will come eventually”.
“Right now, it’s a day-by-day thing,” said linebacker Brandon Spikes. “Sometimes you have setbacks, and sometimes you get it, it just clicks for you. So I think if I just stay on top of it, just being a bookworm, it will come eventually. Right now, it is like a little whirlwind, but it’s going to come.”
One of the most interesting quotes that was uttered by any Patriots player during these last couple of months actually came from Spikes. The rookie told the Boston Herald that he has an incredible amount of respect for the guy who will be running the offense this season, with that player being quarterback Tom Brady.
Spikes told the Herald that he hasn’t seen too many guys that good – even when he was in college.
“In college, we didn’t see too many quarterbacks like that,” rookie linebacker Brandon Spikes said. “It’s crazy how good he is.”
To this point Spikes remains unsigned, and according to Price the deal will likely be in the low $3-million range,and should be for approximately 4-years when a deal finally comes to fruition.
While he should still count on a four-year contract, the end of the second round is when we start to see deals drop into the low $3 million range, while guaranteed money sometimes drops out of the million dollar range and into the high six figures.
Price bases that statement on last year’s 62nd overall selection (defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks out of Auburn), who received a four-year deal worth $3.117 million with $1.361 million guaranteed.
So it appears that Spikes has had a solid couple of months here in New England. Needless to say next month when you’re at Gillette Stadium to watch the practices – be sure to keep an eye out for #55 on your programs. Because it looks like he’s going to be quite a player.