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2021 Patriots draft profile: Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning offers intriguing upside on Day 2

The story of the New England Patriots’ linebacker position in 2020 is well known. After losing three starters to either free agency (Kyle Van Noy, Jamie Collins) or the Coronavirus opt-out (Dont’a Hightower), the group went from one of the best in football to a liability while having to rely on unproven players or different positions to offer depth.

The Patriots did add some considerable talent over the course of the offseason so far by bringing back Van Noy and also signing Matthew Judon and Raekwon McMillan, but the long-term outlook is still uncertain. This is especially true in the off-the-ball category: Hightower is on the wrong side of 30, while Ja’Whaun Bentley and Terez Hall have not proven themselves starting-caliber players last year.