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NFL Draft results 2021: Why the Patriots selected Oklahoma EDGE Ronnie Perkins

Related: Patriots draft Oklahoma DE Ronnie Perkins at to No. 96

Oklahoma v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

The New England Patriots wrapped up the second night of the 2021 NFL Draft by tapping back into the defensive line well.

Their man is Oklahoma EDGE Ronnie Perkins, who they selected with the 96th overall pick. The compensatory selection that they received for the departure of Tom Brady.

Here are some of the reasons why the Patriots double-dipped on the front line of their defense.

A tremendous value pick

Ronnie Perkins was never supposed to reach the compensatory stage of the third round, in fact, he was never supposed to reach the third round at all. He was consistently rated within the top 50 prospects on major big boards, including both of Todd McShay and Mel Kiper’s. He was also the only college EDGE player to have a 90+ PFF grade as both a run defender and pass rusher in 2020.

In his six games played in 2020, Perkins was able to record 5.5 sacks as well as 10.5 tackles for loss. Those numbers helped St. Louis, MO native find himself on the Pac-12’s Second All-Defensive team.

More ammo for the revamped run defense

Bill Belichick’s defense was ranked 26th against the run in 2020. He has shown that he will not allow that to happen again in 2021. After signing defensive lineman Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson, and Montravius Adams the team chose to bring back Lawrence Guy as well as draft Christian Barmore and now Ronnie Perkins. That is a top six on the defensive front that can rival anyone on pure beef alone. When you combine those additions with the added depth and talent at linebacker, there is most certainly a belief that that run defense will improve.

How can Perkins help in that area specifically? A great combination of explosiveness and athleticism. Where Barmore, Guy, Adams, Anderson, and Godchaux will provide the beef, Perkins along with Deatrich Wise, Matthew Judon, and Chase Winovich will serve as more explosive gap penetrators and edge setters.

High upside pass rusher

Throughout his time in Norman, Ronnie Perkins was forced to play with his hand in the dirt as a 4-3 defensive end. Often times getting caught in the mud and getting washed out of plays due to his lack of size at that spot. The expectation remains that New England will run more of a 3-4 base front, where Perkins will be able to play upright, something that is more conducive to his size.

On the field, Perkins is a hunter of the football, meaning he has no problem going up over, around, or through blockers to get home. Being able to play behind guys like Matthew Judon, Dont’a Hightower, Kyle Van Noy, and, Chase Winovich will only serve to help him grow.

His presence will afford the defense some versatility.

The selection of Perkins rounds out the defensive front seven by giving them the versatility to line up in any front they want.

The team now has a 3-4 DT in Davon Godchaux, 4-3 DT’s in Lawrence Guy and Henry Anderson, 3-4 DE’s in Montravius Adams and Deatrich Wise, 4-3 DE’s in Matthew Judon and Anfernee Jennings, and 3-4 OLB’s in Perkins, Josh Uche, and Chase Winovich. Those are just projections from this one man, as many others could see these guys at multiple spots. If all the men listed above make the final 53-man roster, we could be looking at the most schematically versatile defense in the NFL.

As we’ve said time and time again, Bill Belichick wants athleticism and versatility on defense. Ronnie Perkins brings both.


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