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Patriots Roster Prediction #36: ILB Tyrone McKenzie

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Player Name: ILB Tyrone McKenzie

Experience: 1 Years in the NFL, with the New England Patriots

Past Role: McKenzie spent his rookie season on the IR due to a devastating injury during rookie camp. He spent his rookie season watching game footage, getting stronger and preparing himself for this upcoming season. Because McKenzie was injured before signing a contract, the Patriots gave McKenzie bonuses for learning the system and other ways of gaining money. He has not played a down in the NFL, preseason or regular season.

Predicted Role: McKenzie should vie for the rotation ILB spot next to Jerod Mayo. Although Gary Guyton has to be the favorite, and Brandon Spikes has made a name for himself, McKenzie should still fight for the starting spot. McKenzie showed a skill set in college that should make him a perfect back-up for Mayo and should be able to come into the game to give Mayo some rest. He's a tackling machine with the ability to force turnovers and wreak havoc in the backfield.

Look for McKenzie to be a special teams demon, as well. He's able to block kicks and should find a way to contribute.

Predicted Season Numbers: 2 Games Started, 16 Games Played. 35 Tackles, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Sack.

Predicted Depth Chart: #4 ILB

Summary: McKenzie skill as a special teams contributor should allow the Patriots to let go of a special teamer like Pierre Woods or Eric Alexander- and McKenzie shows much more upside as a potential starting ILB. He has a nose for the ball and should be able to cause a couple turnovers. Look for him split time with Brandon Spikes early in the season as the team figures out which player is better.