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Tag:Micah Johnson
Posted on: August 20, 2010 1:53 pm
 

Brandon Spikes a future star in New England

When Brandon Spikes was clocked at 5.05 seconds in the all-important 40-yard dash during his Florida Pro Day, some immediately questioned whether he could be effective in the NFL.

After all, few linebackers have ever run that slow and still been high draft picks. The only middle linebacker from the 2010 draft to have anything close to the two-time All-American Spikes' production in college and his slow time in the 40-yard dash was former Kentucky star Micah Johnson, who went undrafted, was signed by the New York Giants as a free agent and is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.

The slow time did force me to re-evaluate whether he could be effective as a true middle linebacker in the 4-3 scheme, but if protected in a 3-4 alignment, I thought he could continue the spectacular play in the NFL that he'd enjoyed throughout his career with the Gators. His sideline to sideline speed had concerned me even prior to Spikes' senior season.

If his first two preseason games in the NFL are any indication, the Patriots may have a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate with Spikes, the 62nd overall pick of the draft.

Spikes "only" contributed three solo tackles in the win over Atlanta last night, but his physicality in the hole and timing as a pass rusher makes him an ideal fit for this scheme, especially when you consider that the Patriots already feature one of the game's better young inside linebacker in Jerod Mayo -- who captured 49 of a possible 50 votes to win the 2008 award.

In the first preseason game, Spikes was much more statistically impressive, leading the team with eight tackles against the Super Bowl champion Saints.

Spikes' impressive performance has drawn relatively "rave" reviews from Bill Belichick, who, of course, is rarely complimentary.

"Now that he’s in our defense, some things he does are a little bit different than the way we would teach it, but he still does them well,’’ Belichick was quoted by Robert Mays of the Boston Globe.

Wow. Acknowledgement from Belichick? For a rookie?

That's about as rare as a linebacker running a 5.05 second 40-yard dash and still making the second round... 
Posted on: March 17, 2010 12:00 pm
 

Haden steadies stock, Spikes' dropping at Pro Day

Florida cornerback needed to run in the 4.4s to steady his stock after a pair of disappointing times in the 40-yard dash at the Combine. As I reported earlier, according to scouts in attendance, Haden was successful, timing in the mid 4.4s for both of his attempts Wednesday.

The times are likely to cement Haden's status as the top cornerback in the draft and a certain first round pick.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is inside linebacker Brandon Spikes, who was clocked at 4.99 and 5.03. This time would have placed him ahead of only Kentucky inside linebacker Micah Johnson as the slowest LB tested at the Combine.

Though I like Spikes' ability as a run stuffer in the middle, I've questioned his sideline to sideline speed for quite some time.

Spikes didn't run at the Combine, but did compete in the vertical and broad jumps. Perhaps he shouldn't have. Spikes finished tied with Johnson for last in the vertical (29") and with the third worst total in the broad jump (9'3") among linebackers tested in Indianapolis. 

Spikes' slow, unathletic workouts could have a devastating effect on his draft stock. Currently rated by NFLDraftScout.com as a second round prospect, Spikes could in fact slip out of the second day of the draft.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com