Potential Patriots: 5 linebackers to keep an eye on in NFL draft

The NFL draft is quickly approaching and the Patriots have 12 overall picks, including six in the top 101. Given their lack of moves during free agency, the team should be very active. This will be a series broken down by position of players who could be of interest to the team. Today, we look at the linebackers. Here’s earlier editions of the series.

After selecting two linebackers in the middle rounds last season, this doesn't appear to be a top need, but you never know with Bill Belichick. And with 12 overall selections, anything is possible. It is worth noting it's likely given the other needs on the roster, a potential linebacker would not be selected early on.

With that in mind, here are five players to keep an eye on.

Mack Wilson, Alabama -- Wilson is expected to be a Day 2 selection, so it may be too high for the Patriots, but given the Nick Saban connection maybe he gave Belichick a good scouting report. The Alabama product has showed the ability to cover tight ends and running backs out of the backfield, which is something the Patriots need out of their linebackers.

T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin -- Like Wilson, Edwards has showed the ability to flash in coverage. He was a four-year starter at Wisconsin where he had his best season this past fall when he finished with 112 tackles, including 11.5 for loss, three sacks and three interceptions. James White, another Wisconsin product, worked out as a mid-round selection, so maybe Edwards could be the next.

Christian Miller, Alabama — Miller didn't play much at all in his first three seasons at Alabama due to injury. After playing in 14 total games his first three years, he played in 14 this past fall and had eight sacks. Saban is always a phone call away, and he would know better than anyone what Miller's ceiling is. He could be a steal in the middle-to-late rounds.

Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas — Greenlaw was a tackle-machine at Arkansas, as he finished with 80 and 103 tackles respectively the last two seasons. If he is around in the later rounds, do not be shocked to see the Patriots take a shot, especially considering Bret Bielema was his coach for a couple of seasons.

Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington -- Everyone knows how much the Patriots seem to love three-cone times, and Burr-Kirven had the top time out of the linebackers on Sunday at 6.85 seconds. This past fall he finished with 176 tackles, which definitely stands out in the Pac-12. He’s expected to be a mid-to-late round pick, so why not take a shot?