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Michigan Wolverines linebacker Cameron McGrone tackles Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 at Michigan Stadium.

The Patriots seemed to target falling players in the 2021 draft. They selected a number of their picks below or well below their projected draft slot.

One of those picks was Michigan linebacker Cameron McGrone. Selected in the fifth round, his fall was due in part to a torn ACL he suffered in November. In a year where teams struggled to get medical information on players, he presented an extra level of uncertainty.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots made him their pick at 177th overall. The team was willing to take the risk, knowing full well he may not play in 2021, as Belichick told the media in his post-draft press conference.

“We’re not really sure what the expectation of availability is for him, but we’re prepared certainly to not have him available this year, but we’ll just have to wait and see how that goes,” Belichick said. “There are no false expectations here. He should have a good recovery and be a good player. We’ll just have to see what the timing is on that.”

On McGrone’s end, he told reporters he feels good with the progress he’s making on his rehab. “I’m feeling really great, just ready to get to work at this point. Just chipping away every day,” he said.

The Patriots aren’t in a position where they’d need McGrone to make an impact right away. At middle linebacker, the team has Dont’a Hightower returning from an opt-out season, with Ja’Whaun Bentley, Terez Hall, and the newly-signed Raekwon McMillan behind him. With Hightower and Bentley both in the final year of their contracts, the Patriots were able to add a potential replacement ahead of time.

For more NFL Draft coverage check out the Patriots Draft Hub 

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Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.