Training camp preview: Inside linebacker

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Brandon Spikes had 47 tackles in eight games in 2011. (Associated Press)

Greg A. Bedard provides a status report on the Patriots’ defensive position groups heading into the start of training camp on July 26.

Position: Inside linebacker
Current number of players: 4
Four-year average at cut to 53 players: 4.0
Last season at 53: 3

Another position where the scheme change has affected things. Really we should just group all the linebackers together – and separate the line – but that would leave a one-year sample size.

Locks (2): Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower

Near locks (1): Dane Fletcher

Battling (0)

Long shots (1)
Mike Rivera

53-man prediction
Brandon Spikes, Dont’a Hightower, Dane Fletcher
Cut: Mike Rivera

Parting thought: This group is fairly straightforward. Hightower is likely going to move to strong-side outside linebacker, but that shouldn’t affect the number because he’s going to backup all linebacker spots in our estimation.

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