The 2013 season in New England was marked by significant injuries at all three levels of the defense. Season-ending injuries to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, and Aqib Talib robbed the unit of steady leadership and solid play. Towards the end of the season we saw many young players step into the void created by the veterans. Young standouts ranged from Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon, to Sealver Siliga and Chris Jones. No young defender could match the potential displayed by first year linebacker Jamie Collins.
The athletic first-round draft choice showed flashes of promise through out the season, but truly had a breakout performance against the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Divisional round. Collins’ incredible knack for finding the ball, combined with his superb blend of athleticism and drive make him the future of the Patriots defense. With the odd case (and seemingly imminent departure) of Brandon Spikes, the Patriots would be wise to scoop up a cheap free agent option to round out their core of Mayo, Collins, and Hightower.
Our very own Buck Stanton put together a list of the top 10 free agent linebackers. Do you think any of them would be a good fit for the Patriots? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!