Brandon Spikes goes for the wrong ball, but still manages the tackle. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Past Role: Spikes is a two time first team All-American and three time first team All-SEC middle linebacker. And the Patriots got him at the end of the second round. What a steal. He started 39 of 47 games at the University of Florida, helping the team to two National Championships. Spikes was a two time captain and was known to have the best instincts of any linebacker in the draft- but he had a slow 40 time which caused him to drop. However, he's a highly intelligent player who knows how to stop plays before they develop. He's also much faster in pads. He was a dominating defensive player in college and one of the best.
Predicted Role: With Gary Guyton missing some preseason time, Spikes has been able to step up and play with Jerod Mayo on the first team defense, as well as be the leader of the second team defense. He's should continue his high level of play into the NFL and should earn the starting spot next to Mayo for the season. He brings a level of tenacity to the defense that the team has been lacking and backs up his fierceness with great skill. He'll be a top inside linebacker and should be a candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Look for Spikes to play ILB and a little OLB when he's needed to cover tight ends and running backs. He's a versatile and strong player.
Predicted Season Numbers: 13 Games Started, 16 Games Played, 85 tackles, 3 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles
Predicted Depth Chart: #2 ILB
Summary: Spikes will continue to be an incredible player and should be a terror for opposing offenses. Spikes will flourish next to Mayo- and Mayo will do much better next to Spikes than next to Guyton. Look for Spikes to be on the highlight reel many times this season.