Prototypical Patriots: Which linebackers could team target in 2021 NFL Draft?

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Phil Perry
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Perry's Prototypical Patriots: Which LBs are best fits in New England? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Patriots value power in their inside linebackers. Take a look at the off-the-ball types they've drafted in the first three rounds since Bill Belichick too the reins in 2000: Jerod Mayo (6-foot-2, 242 pounds), Tyrone McKenzie (6-2, 243), Brandon Spikes (6-3, 249 pounds), Dont'a Hightower (6-2, 265), Jamie Collins (6-3, 250), Josh Uche (6-1, 245), Anfernee Jennings (6-2, 256).

Their last several Day 3 investments at the position were a fifth-round pick spent on Ja'Whaun Bentley (6-2, 255), a sixth on Christian Sam (6-1, 244) and a sixth on Cassh Maluia (6-0, 248).

Physically, they have a type at that spot. Size (240 pounds or more), to take on offensive linemen in the running game, matters. College production that indicates a high football IQ is critical, too. Strong leadership qualities don't hurt, either. In this day and age, bigger linebackers are going the way of the dinosaur, which actually makes identifying "prototypes" in New England a little easier. There just ain't that many.

Here are the ones we've found in this year's class.

Which linebackers could Patriots target in 2021 NFL Draft?