With another season-ending injury to a Patriots linebacker heading into the playoffs, a little known rookie could play a key roll on Saturday.
Brandon Spikes was placed on injured reserve this week due to a knee injury. That leaves a large void at inside linebacker that Steve Beauharnais, a 6-foot-2, 230 rookie, from Rutgers may be called on to fill at times against the Colts in the playoffs.
Drafted in the seventh round by the Patriots, he could prove to be the defensive steal of the draft. The draft experts had him ranked the third best pure middle linebacker in the draft.
|Beauharnais at practice (Kevin Saleeba/Patriots Insider).
OVERVIEW: We didn’t see much of Beauharnais this year. He’s been a healthy scratch most of the season. When he played, it was strictly for special teams. However, I did see a lot of him in the preseason. Granted, it was against other teams’ scrubs, he was dominant. On film from those games, he reminded me of London Fletcher. There isn’t much of a drop-off in his cover skills compared to Spikes, but he won’t be as effective against the run.
STRENGTHS: He’s a solid tackler. He’s not the imposing presence that Spikes was, but he’s a better athlete. His tackling is sound. He just won’t deliver the big hit. He will wrap up and take down ball carriers. He also has the ability to cover and find his way into the backfield. He has the potential to being a great leader. He was a co-captain of the Rutgers defense.
WEAKNESSES: He’s not the strongest or the fastest linebacker. His cover ability is suspect. He won’t scare offenses and will have trouble winning battles with bigger guards.
Bryan Souza is a contributor to Patriots Insider. He has extensive scouting knowledge of several college and pro teams throughout the country.