The New England Patriots will be without one of their free agency additions this season.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Raekwon McMillan suffered a torn ACL last week, signaling the end to his 2021 campaign.
A former second-round draft pick out of Ohio State, the 25-year-old McMillan signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in March to bolster the team’s inside linebacker depth. A veteran of 45 games (32 starts) over the last three seasons, McMillan was a solid player for both the Miami Dolphins and Las Vegas Raiders before arriving in New England.
This is McMillan’s second training camp ACL injury as he tore his right knee in the Dolphins’ preseason opener his rookie year. Rapoport has reported that this time the tear has come in his left knee.
With the loss of McMillan, the Patriots inside linebacking corps looks like it will be primarily made up of veterans.
Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and Ja’Whaun Bentley are virtual locks play the majority of snaps off the ball alongside Josh Uche, who is looking to make a second year leap. Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, Anfernee Jennings, and Cassh Maluia (who was re-signed following McMillan’s injury) are all players that spent time playing inside last season, albeit with varying levels of success. Ronnie Perkins, a rookie EDGE player could also see some time off ball alongside free agent addition Matthew Judon.
The loss of McMillan likely won’t have a profound impact on the success of the defense, but may force linebackers coaches Jerod Mayo and Steve Belichick to get a bit creative in finding depth behind the top group.