Patriots Draft Recap
Bill Belichick does it again. For the second consecutive year, he absolutely nailed the draft and this year, he took it to the next level. This has all the makings of a franchise altering and franchise saving draft.
The Patriots were able to get two of the best players in this draft including their future franchise QB. With their first round pick they took Alabama QB Mac Jones, one of the consensus best players and QB’s in this draft and with their second round pick they took Alabama DT Christian Barmore, the best defensive tackle in the draft.
As the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft was playing out, the Patriots didn’t panic and mortgage the future to trade up for a QB, they were patient, read the board correctly and one of the best QB’s in the draft was sitting there when their pick came up. Mac Jones was considered by most to be a top three pick heading into the draft. He is one of the most pro ready QB’s in the draft, the best QB in the class at reading a defense, going through his progressions and finding the open receiver. He’s the most accurate QB in the draft, he’s the complete package. Now, you might say, he’s not mobile and doesn’t make plays with his legs. I’d say, when you are as good as he is at playing QB, reading a defense, making good throws, why would you want him to run? Mac Jones is a true passing QB, the type of QB we’ve watched here in New England my entire life, minus last season and I don’t want what we had last year ever again. Jones is exactly the type of QB I want leading the Patriots going forward and they got him. But I still can’t believe the Patriots were able to get him.
I, like most people, thought Mac Jones was going third overall. He was off my radar for the last three or four weeks. My attention was squarely on Justin Fields and Trey Lance. I wanted nothing to do with Lance so Justin Fields became my guy. After the 49ers took Lance, everything changed. I still would’ve taken Fields but Mac Jones was now the guy I wanted. He fits the Patriots system better, his style of play is more consistent and ultimately more effective at the pro level. He was the perfect pick for the Patriots at number fifteen.
In the second round the Patriots got aggressive and made a move up to get Christian Barmore. He was one of the best defensive players in this draft and thought to possibly go in round one. Once he slipped into round two the Patriots made a move up to ensure they got him. Barmore is a beast, he is dominant against the run and is an excellent interior pass-rusher. He can play DT or DE in the 3-4 defense, which is a big part of the Patriots defense. He reminds me of Patriots legend Richard Seymour and hopefully he can have a similar impact over the next eight years that Seymour had in his eight years in New England.
Those two picks right there, give the Patriots an A+ for this draft. A franchise quarterback and a dominant defensive lineman is franchise altering. If these two players work out how we all expect, the Patriots dynasty is alive and well. But the Patriots didn’t stop there, they continued to add good players including the potential steal of the draft in round three.
At pick number ninety-six the Patriots drafted Oklahoma DE/OLB Ronnie Perkins. He is an extremely versatile edge player that excels at getting after the QB. He was in most pundits top fifty players in this draft. He has the talent to be a first rounder but slipped because of a drug suspension last season. A top fifty player that the Patriots got at pick ninety-six.
The Patriots got three of the top fifty players in this draft including one at the most important positions in the game.
The Patriots then added a couple very good players in the fourth and fifth rounds, Oklahoma RB Rhamondre Stevenson and Michigan LB Cameron McGrone. Both players are better than where they were drafted. Like Perkins, Stevenson missed games due to a drug suspension and McGrone was injured. If both these guys played a full season and were healthy, they would’ve been second-third round picks. The Patriots roster is really deep and talent so these two might have a tough time making the roster but they are good players with potential.
As I blogged about a couple months ago, when Bill Belichick is invested and more involved in the draft process, the Patriots typically have very productive drafts. Nick Caserio wanted out prior to last year’s draft and he is gone for this year’s draft. Belichick had to take on a bigger role over the last two drafts and after struggling from 2016-2019, the Patriots are back. The are in the middle of another 2001-2004 and 2009-2013 type stretch of successful drafting.
A lot of people trace the Patriots struggles in 2020 back to their poor drafting from 2016-2019, if the Patriots turn it around and become Super Bowl contenders once again, we will look back at the 2020 and particularly the 2021 NFL Drafts as the reason why.