Five great places to start and this one below is a pretty big concern. Last draft season I skipped over Hightower because I felt he was too similar to Spikes. I do like both those guys but it’s clear that the Patriots need another dimension to their linebacking corps.
The Patriots rounded out their starting trio of linebackers by adding Dont’a Hightower to Jerod Mayo and Brandon Spikes in the 2012 draft. The All-SEC group was stout versus the run this season, but pass coverage by linebackers proved to be an area where the Patriots’ defense struggled. Both Spikes and Hightower have just average speed, and the Patriots were susceptible to backs out of the backfield as receivers. Whether it’s by scheme or personnel, the Patriots’ coverage on the second level has room for improvement.