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Training camp preview: Inside linebacker

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 17, 2012 07:00 AM

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300spikes.jpg

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.

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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