! Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com highlights linebackers Brandon Spikes and Dont'a Hightower as the two main candidates alongside captain Jerod Mayo to fill the inside linebacker position in the Patriots' 4-3 defense. Yates writes that a middle linebacker must be versatile, as he is "responsible to handle a bevy of tasks as both a run and pass defender." Spikes has recorded 108 tackles over 20 games in his first two NFL seasons, while Hightower remains the only Patriots rookie yet to sign a contract with the club as of Thursday.
Greg Knopping of PatsPulpit.com reports that the Patriots attended the workout of former Baylor wide receiver Josh Gordon on Tuesday. Knopping writes that Gordon is "widely considered the best available prospect" in this year's supplemental draft, which will be held on July 15. The Patriots have yet to take a player in the supplemental draft in the Bill Belichick era, but the 6'3," 225-lb receiver has caught the eye of many teams around the league.
Mike Rodak of ESPNBoston.com reports that defensive back Will Allen will face "stiff competition" from safeties James Ihedigbo and Josh Barrett as well as cornerback Sterling Moore for a spot on the 53-man roster. "Allen is an experienced veteran at positions where the Patriots are relatively young," writes Rodak. "In the event of another wave of injuries, Allen would provide stability." Still, Rodak believes that the former Miami Dolphin will have a tough time cracking the rotation if everyone stays healthy. He sets Allen's chances of making the club at 45%.
Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald writes that rookie defensive back Tavon Wilson will be among the "safeties to watch in 2012." The Patriots selected Wilson in the second round of this year's draft. "The Illinois product is a versatile defensive back who can play just about anywhere in the secondary, either at a standard safety position or in the slot in sub sets," writes Howe. Wilson will have to prove himself among newly acquired safety Stephen Gregory and fourth-year safety Patrick Chung.