The New England Patriots went into the 2021 NFL Draft knowing they still needed to address a few needs, even after making a huge splash with their free agency spending spree. The biggest need was at quarterback but they also had needs at wide receiver, cornerback, linebacker, and defensive line. The New England Patriots ended up drafting eight players, choosing four on offense and four on defense. They addressed each one of their needs and also added depth at the running back and offensive line positions. So who did the Pats draft?
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Recap: Day One
1.15 l Mac Jones l QB l Alabama
It is no secret that the New England Patriots’ biggest need was a quarterback and it appears they got their man in Mac Jones. Some consider Jones the most pro-ready of the quarterbacks in this draft. He is a pocket passer who has good accuracy and is mobile enough to extend plays and run the ball if he has to. Jones will allow offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to go back to the offense they were running with Tom Brady. Jones only started one full season at Alabama and since Belichick doesn’t start rookie quarterbacks he will sit behind Cam Newton. Even if Newton plays well, Jones won’t be rushed.
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Recap: Day Two
2.38 l Christian Barmore l DT l Alabama
Belichick once again went back to his good friend Nick Saban and took what could be the best defensive tackle in the draft when they moved up and selected Christian Barmore. The Pats traded two fourth-round picks to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up. Barmore (6’4″ 310 pounds) has good size and has good athleticism for his size. He started out the 2020 season slow but was at his best in the College Football Playoff National Championship game where he was the defensive MVP and recorded 5 tackles, 2 for a loss, with 1 sack.
3.96 l Ronnie Perkins l DE l Oklahoma
In the third round, the Pats selected Oklahoma Sooners defensive end /edge Ronnie Perkins. Perkins (6’2″ 253 pounds) is an under-size edge. He is the perfect Belichick player as he will be able to line up at linebacker or at the edge similar to Chase Winovich and Kyle Van Noy. He played well at OU and finished with 98 tackles, with 32 for a loss, and 16.5 sacks. Perkins will add depth and should see plenty of time on the field as a rookie.
New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Recap: Day Three
4.120 l Rhamondre Stevenson l RB l Oklahoma
Rhamondre Stevenson (6’0″ 231 pounds) will join a crowded backfield that already includes Sony Michel, Damien Harris, James White, and J.J. Taylor. He is a big bruising type running back who runs hard and can catch the ball out of the backfield. He could play a role similar to that of when LeGarrette Blount was in New England. With all these backs the Pats may rely on the run more than last season, especially if Mac Jones has to play early.
5.177 l Cameron McGrone l LB l Michigan
Cameron McGrone (6’0″ 234 pounds) is the latest Michigan defensive prospect the New England Patriots have drafted. He is an athletic but undersized linebacker. He is also a young player at only 20 years old, who does have a history of injuries. He has torn both of his ACLs (one in high school). He was not able to participate in his pro day or any activities due to another ACL tear. If he can get on the field he will be able to help out at linebacker and special teams.
5.188 l Joshuah Bledsoe l S l Missouri
Joshuah Bledsoe (5’11” 204 pounds) is versatile and can play both safety and cornerback. He also played some at outside linebacker during his 46 games and 22 starts at Missouri. He is undersized for safety but is a Belichick type of player since he can play multiple positions. He will contribute to special teams if can’t in the secondary. He sustained a wrist injury during the Senior Bowl practices and was not able to work out on his pro day.
6.197 l William Sherman l OL l Colorado
William Sherman (6’3″ 305 pounds) played both tackle positions for the Buffaloes and was a 3-year starter in Boulder. He has a combination of power and agility and is another Belichick-type player who can play multiple positions. He projects as a guard but can play any position on the line. His versatility will at least give him a chance to play for the Pats.
7.242 l Tre Nixon l WR l Central Florida
The New England Patriots waited until the 7th round to address one of their other big needs. Despite signing Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne in free agency they still could use another wide receiver. Tre Nixon (6’0″ 187 pounds) has 4.43 speed and is a deep threat. He will have a difficult time trying to make the roster. Not only will he have to compete with Agholor and Bourne but former first-round pick N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Myers as well. His speed will give him a chance to make the roster.
New England Patriots Overall Draft Grade: B+
The New England Patriots ended up with a pretty good draft that will provide depth for a team that had the most players opt out the 2020 season due to Covid- 19. The Pats may have found their next franchise quarterback and added the best defensive tackle in the draft. Perkins and McGrone add depth at linebacker and give them a couple more pass rushers, while Bledsoe does the same for the secondary. Sherman’s versatility will give him a chance to make the roster and Nixon with his speed will be an interesting wideout prospect.
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