New England Patriots: 3 interesting position battles on defense

Harvey Langi #48 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)
Harvey Langi #48 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /
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New England Patriots
Harvey Langi #48 of the New England Patriots (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

New England Patriots position battle No. 1: Linebacker

Arguably the deepest position on the Patriots roster is currently linebacker, whether it be edge rushers, outside, or inside linebackers. The Pats are stacked through and through, and there’s not going to be a lot of room to keep some of these guys.

Let’s start at inside linebacker, which is probably the least contested of the bunch. Dont’a Hightower is set to reclaim his role at the position after a one year layoff, with Ja’Whaun Bentley right behind him. Terez Hall and Cassh Maluia would be the cuts here.

At the outside positions, Kyle Van Noy and Matt Judon are firmly locked into starting spots. Recent draft picks Josh Uche and Ronnie Perkins probably are locks, while Anfernee Jennings will probably start off on the Physically Unable to Perform list, as well as Cameron McGrone. Harvey Langi is probably left off the roster when things are said and done.

On the edge, Deatrich Wise Jr. is possibly the only lock. Henry Anderson, Chase Winovich, and Tashaun Bower are all looking to make the roster, and it really could end up being anyone of them. Winovich is probably at a disadvantage due to him missing most of camp, but he has more experience than a guy like Anderson, who was brought in through free agency this offseason.

As defense in football becomes less and less about positions, many of these guys can fill multiple roles in different scenarios. Maybe a guy like Hall or Langi can find a role on the team, but it’s becoming increasingly unlikely.

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The real position battle comes with who will be starting. Uche has looked fantastic this offseason, and could look to find a starting role. Meanwhile a guy like Winovich could get bumped out of a starting role because of how much action he has missed this offseason.

The excess of options available to New England is what makes the position battle the most interesting on defense. There are numerous ways this could end up going, and that’s what makes it so interesting. A weakness for most of last season, the linebacker grouping is shaping up to be one of the New England Patriots deepest positions this upcoming season.