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Get to Know New England Patriots ILB Brandon Spikes

Boom. My steal of the draft. I've been projecting former Florida ILB Brandon Spikes to be a 2nd round pick for a couple days and I'm esctatic that it came to fruition. Spikes has been a fantastic ILB for a long time and has should continue to play at a high level in the NFL. In college, he was a two year All-American and a two year All-SEC player.

He's a beast.

I had this to say about Spikes:

Verdict: The general assessment of Spikes is that he is unable to run sideline to sideline, but is a monster in the box. He is basically the opposite of Gary Guyton. Guyton can move sideline to sideline and can make the tackle, but he is usually making the tackle from behind and not stopping the play. Spikes can stop the play if it is upfront, but he lacks the ability to get the player on the outside. If Spikes is able to improve his straight line time, he could be even better in the NFL. If he improves his character under the leadership of Jerod Mayo, then he could be another vocal defensive leader of the Patriots for years to come. If he's around during our last draft pick, it'd be foolish not to take him. I'd even advise selecting him if he's around for our second 2nd round pick. I think this kid has talent and the Patriots is the best place for him to be brought under control and utilized to his full potential.

Spikes has the ability to attack the line from his ILB role and adds some grit into our defense. Gary Guyton, who I expect Spikes to replace in the starting line up, could play in a rush position from the outside with his speed, but Guyton is unable to stop plays on the line like Spikes does. Spikes is an immediate upgrade at the linebacker position.

More information after the jump! Analysis

Spikes is a big, strong physical defender that missed some time in 2009 after being suspended for a game due to an on the field incident early in the season. Spikes is best attacking the line of scrimmage and is a solid tackler in the open field. He uses his hands well to ward off blockers and leverage the ball and understands angles and run fits in the Gators defense. He is an instinctive player that is best versus the run but appears to have limitations in coverage. Spikes is quicker than fast and reacts quickly as plays develop but will need lots of technique work (especially defending the pass) at the next level. Spikes has excellent blood lines and is a good football player that brings attitude and leadership to the linebacker position. Analysis

Read & React: Quick to diagnose and has good speed to the ball

Run defense: Rare size and explosive punch to quickly disengage from blocks.

Pass defense: Quick footwork to get depth in coverage. Very good reading the quarterback's eyes while in coverage.

Tackling: Explosive wrap-up tackler who can separate the football from the ball carrier.

Pass Rush/Blitz: Effective stand-up blitzer.

Intangibles: Voted a team captain in 2008-09 and was a member of the 2008 UF Football leadership Committee. Returned for his senior campaign despite earning a first-day grade from the NFL Advisory Committee.

NFL Comparison: Takeo Spikes

Click the link for a more in-depth player review!

  • Very little wasted movement, which lessens his weakness of not having top notch speed.
  • Gets in passing lanes.
  • Great at getting into the backfield, but most likely won't catch a mobile player.
  • Can drop back into coverage and stop plays across the middle.
  • Reads plays well.
  • Can break away from blockers and still make a play.
  • Can engage two blockers and open lanes for other players.
  • Needs to work on his straight line speed. Badly.
  • Has a nose for the ball.
  • Does a good job of avoiding linemen- but gets stopped when he does.
  • Better in coverage when asked to sit in the middle instead of play man.
  • Makes the players around him better.
  • Intelligent player, but doesn't have the best recovery speed.

Basically, the biggest knock against Spikes is his lack of speed. He knows the game and is a ball player, but he won't be winning any footraces. With a strong off-season, expect Spikes to improve his speed with strength and conditioning coaches and for him to be a valuable player on our defense. Potential week 1 starter. Excellent pick.