Colts Steal Standout Practice Squad Linebacker From New England Patriots

A 2021 fifth-rounder is headed to Indianapolis after being signed to Colts’ 53-man roster

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The Patriots lost an exciting linebacker prospect on Tuesday morning to the Indianapolis Colts.

The Indianapolis Colts signed Patriots practice squad linebacker Cameron McGrone to their 53-man roster on Tuesday morning according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

After suffering a torn ACL in his final year at Michigan, McGrone, an athletic linebacker, saw his draft stock plummet from a surefire pick on Day 2 of the draft all the way down to Day 3, where the Patriots drafted him in the fifth round with the No. 177 pick of the draft.

The loss of McGrone is a notable one, as the Patriots viewed him as an additional draft pick. Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh even cited him as a reason why they did not draft a fast, athletic linebacker in the 2022 Draft.

McGrone missed the duration of the 2021 season while rehabbing his ACL and was one of the more hyped-up players heading into training camp this July. The 22-year-old however, was waived as a part of the final roster cuts and then resigned to the Patriots practice squad where he spent the first 13 weeks of the season.

It appeared McGrone was making progress towards making New England’s active roster; the  6-foot-1 linebacker was elevated from the practice squad prior to the Patriots’ Week 14 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, a game where he was a healthy scratch.

The loss of McGrone creates a hole that they did not address in their 2022 NFL Draft class — an athletic linebacker — something the team has been missing in the new age of NFL defenses.

New England notably passed on Jaguars standout rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd, who was selected with the No. 27 overall pick in the draft, in favor of guard Cole Strange. While Strange has been solid on the offensive line for the Patriots, Lloyd ranks seventh among all rookies with 98 tackles, and would undoubtedly bolster an already strong Patriots defense.

It’s unknown whether the presence of McGrone on the roster impacted the decision to select Strange over Lloyd, but it’s clear that the passing on linebacker depth as a whole was a mistake.