The New England Patriots have made their final selection and can now officially close the book on the 2021 NFL Draft. They added a total of eight players over the last three days, while addressing needs on both sides of the ball — including the biggest of them all at the quarterback selection.
With that being said, let’s meet the 2021 New England draft class!
1-15 QB Mac Jones, Alabama: The Patriots were speculated as a potential candidate to trade up in the first round to get their quarterback of the future. They found him even without having to move. Mac Jones was available at No. 15, and New England picked him to join a position group currently also including incumbent starter Cam Newton and third-year backup Jarrett Stidham. While there is no guarantee Jones will take over as the team’s QB1 right away, there is no doubt: Jones is the new face of the franchise.
2-38 DT Christian Barmore, Alabama: New England started the second day of the draft by making a move up the board to add to its defensive front seven. The Patriots shipped three total draft picks to Cincinnati to jump ahead eight spots, and ended up selecting possibly the best defensive tackle in this year’s draft. Barmore offers an intriguing mix of size, explosion and positional versatility and should be a mainstay on the New England D-line for years to come due to his ability to contribute in the running game and as an interior pass rusher.
3-96 DE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma: After selecting Barmore in the second round, the Patriots added another player to their defense in the third. Ronnie Perkins was a productive player in his three seasons as a Sooner and will now join a defensive edge group that also saw the addition of free agents Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy earlier during the offseason. Together with them as well as Chase Winovich and Josh Uche, Perkins will try to boost a pass rush that struggled producing sacks in 2020.
4-120 RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma: New England bolstered its offensive backfield with its first pick on Day 3, bringing in a big-bodied runner who has upside as an early-down and short-yardage back. Stevenson joins a deep running back group, but one that could see the departures of Sony Michel and James White next offseason. While not suited to replace White, he could be groomed to take over Michel’s role in 2022.
5-177 LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan: With the Patriots’ off-the-ball linebacker group consisting of a 31-year-old Dont’a Hightower and plenty of question marks, the team decided to take a fifth-round flyer on McGrone. While his injury history is a concern, he does have the instincts and range to develop into a starting-caliber player for New England.
6-188 S Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri: New England used Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips in the hybrid “star” role between linebacker and strong safety last year, and Bledsoe offers additional depth at the position. While it remains to be seen how he fits in the secondary and on the Patriots’ special teams group, he could possibly allow Dugger to play more deep snaps in his second season.
6-197 OT William Sherman, Colorado: With Isaiah Wynn and Trent Brown both currently scheduled to enter unrestricted free agency next year, the Patriots were expected to address their offensive tackle depth at one point in the draft. That point came in the sixth round when Colorado’s William Sherman was added. If he stay at tackle — the 6-foot-3, 304-pounder is seen as a candidate to move inside — Sherman will compete against the current backup tackles on New England’s roster: Justin Herron, Korey Cunningham and Yodny Cajuste.
7-242 WR Tre Nixon, Central Florida: New England was projected to go after a wide receiver in the draft, but it took until the team’s final selection in Round 7 before it actually happened. The receiver brought in is Central Florida’s Tre Nixon, a good athlete who brings solid size to the equation at 6-foot-0, 187 pounds. Nixon will compete for a depth roster spot behind projected starters Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne.
How would you grade the Patriots’ 2021 draft performance?
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