Patriots’ Brandon Copeland Is Self-Aware About His Positional Versatility


May 6, 2020

As an undrafted free agent who has fought and scrapped to get into and stay in the NFL, Brandon Copeland knows the key to making a team.

The New England Patriots are Copeland’s fifth team since the versatile linebacker went undrafted out of Penn in 2013. After playing with the Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Detroit Lions and New York Jets, Copeland signed a one-year deal with the Patriots as a free agent this offseason.

Copeland was asked whether he’ll play as an edge rusher or off-ball linebacker in New England. The 6-foot-3, 263-pound defender plans to learn it all just in case.

“I’m obviously a linebacker body type, but for me, I’m trying to learn literally — I’ve realized what has kept me in the league for this long and at the level I’ve played at is the fact that I can do multiple things at a high level,” Copeland said Wednesday in a video conference call.

“For me, I’ll never try to take that away. I remember there was a game years ago in Detroit where I went from playing defensive end in a four-point stance to outside linebacker, Sam Linebacker, middle linebacker, dime linebacker and all four special teams. That was my first active season in the NFL and I’m like, ‘Wow, I’m probably the one guy in this arena that can play eight different positions today like this.'”

Copeland joins a suddenly crowded Patriots linebacker depth chart that also includes Shilique Calhoun, Derek Rivers, John Simon, Chase Winovich, Terez Hall, Dont’a Hightower, Brandon King and rookies De’Jon Harris, Anfernee Jennings, Cassh Maluia, Kyahva Tezino and Josh Uche.

Copeland’s ability to play as a pass rusher, linebacker and special-teams ace could be the difference between making the 53-man roster and being left off.

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Thumbnail photo via Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports images
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