Don Brown seems to be a well-liked man in New England. The Massachusetts native has served as defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan for the last five seasons, and throughout this time has witnessed two of his best gamers get drafted by the New England Patriots: the team picked Chase Winovich in the third round back again in 2019, and extra Josh Uche in the 2nd round very last offseason.
With the linebacker situation however a need for the Patriots, could they go back again to the Michigan well and consider one particular of Brown’s former players in the middle rounds? That undoubtedly could be the case specified that Cameron McGrone would not just fill a need within just their protection, but also fits the mildew the club is looking for at the inside linebacker position.
Identify: Cameron McGrone
School: Michigan (Junior)
Opening working day age: 21
2020 stats: 5 video games (5 starts) 26 tackles (2 tackles for reduction) .5 sacks
Measurement: 6007, 234 lbs, 77 1/2 wingspan, 32 1/8 arm, 9 1/4 hand
Exercise session figures: 20 bench press reps
Anticipated spherical: 3rd
Patriots pre-draft meeting: N/A
Strengths: If you had to draw an within linebacker from scratch, odds are he would search pretty comparable to McGrone. He has some good dimensions to perform the posture and also offers the selection teams want from their off-the-ball personnel. McGrone is a fluid lateral mover able of generating performs all around the subject, who also possesses the instincts and soccer intelligence to identify plays and attack down the hill compared to the run.
In basic, he showed some great progress in this spot and grew to become a far better processor by way of his college job at Michigan. This also is on show when utilized as a go rusher from the next degree: McGrone understands how to time his blitzes and discover holes in the offensive line to get into the backfield, and also has proven an capacity to drop blocks and choose state-of-the-art angles. He also makes his existence felt on make contact with and is a technically sound tackler who is not fearful to lay the wood.
Weaknesses: Acquiring played just 19 online games by way of a few seasons in Ann Arbor, McGrone is inexperienced and a uncooked prospect who has to make improvements to in various locations. He requires to come to be more robust and create extra muscle mass though continuing to expand into his body, desires perform in coverage primarily vs . tight finishes in excess of the center of the industry and when one-on-1 with working backs on wheel routes, and oftentimes runs himself out of plays because of to overcharging or finding missing in visitors.
His damage background is also a significant problem for McGrone. He tore the ACL in his correct knee as a significant university junior, and later was compelled to stop his junior year at Michigan early due to the fact of the same injury in his left knee. He also appeared in only 1 game upon becoming a member of the Wolverines, and thus has only a single comprehensive calendar year of experience on his résumé. That year was extraordinary and showed his upside, but he was not able to deliver a proper observe-up marketing campaign in 2020 owing to his knee personal injury.
Why the Patriots? New England enjoys defenders that are instinctive and have the football IQ to make the transition to the pro match. McGrone therefore is a natural in shape and could be a focus on in the late third spherical if however on the board. Incorporate the actuality that he is filling a need to have — the Patriots have to have to prepare for existence right after Dont’a Hightower — and coming kind a plan of course very well-revered by Bill Belichick and enterprise it would not be shock if they had their eye on the 20-yr-aged.
Why not the Patriots? As outlined higher than, accidents have been a key problem for McGrone around the study course of his vocation. Even though dozens of linebackers have productively appear again from ACL tears before, there is a chance that the Patriots do not really feel relaxed in his medicals and come to a decision to acquire him off their board entirely. His minimal knowledge at the collegiate level and one particular-dimensionality compared to other mid-spherical linebackers also do the job from McGrone.
What would be his position in New England in 2021? With Dont’a Hightower however underneath agreement for 1 a lot more year, and with Ja’Whaun Bentley, Raekwon McMillan and Terez Hall also on the roster, McGrone may well be asked to get a redshirt-caliber time as a rookie. Though that does not indicate he will capture the famed “Foxboro Flu” and end up on the non-soccer harm listing, the Patriots could enable to sit him or only use him in a bundle-precise style and on special groups when owning him master the ins and outs of the defense powering the scenes.
What would be his part in New England further than 2021? In situation Dont’a Hightower does depart as a absolutely free agent soon after the 2021 year, McGrone would be a key candidate to take above as the Patriots’ top inside of linebacker. If he in truth gets prime billing in the situation group, he would be presented a good deal of snaps in his 2nd NFL year and perhaps also take around the guide-communicator function held by the long run Patriots Corridor of Famer.
Does he have positional flexibility? As mentioned earlier mentioned, other linebackers in this year’s draft provide more flexibility than McGrone. Even with his good vary and functional athleticism, he is primarily a common inside linebacker who does not healthy the shift job New England has offered players these types of as Hightower or Kyle Van Noy in the past. That does not make him a poor in good shape, of study course, but it boundaries his flexibility inside the Patriots’ scheme.
What is his special groups value? McGrone could be given considerable special groups snaps from early on in his vocation. He has the pace to provide as a protection participant on the two kickoffs and punts, and as these would be a two-unit player right from the get-go. Dependent on how his defensive use evolves, however, so would his kicking sport contributions.
Which present-day Patriots will he have to conquer out? If drafted in his envisioned selection, McGrone would be a lock to make New England’s roster this calendar year. That claimed, he would contend for taking part in time against other inside of and go linebackers on the Patriots’ current payroll: Ja’Whaun Bentley, Raekwon McMillan, Terez Hall and LaRoy Reynolds would be his most important levels of competition, with Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings also potentially competing for off-the-ball snaps.
Verdict: The Patriots have long gone to the Michigan well in back-to-back again yrs now, but both Chase Winovich and Josh Uche were safer projections at the upcoming amount than McGrone. That being stated, if the crew feels assured about his upside and medicals he might be well worth a mid-round flyer if the team does not find an additional linebacker previously in the draft.