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NFL Draft results 2021: Why the Patriots selected Missouri safety Joshuah Bledsoe

Related: Patriots draft Missouri S Joshuah Bledsoe at No. 188

NCAA Football: Louisiana State at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots took a very New England Patriots approach with the 188th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

They did so by selecting Missouri safety Joshuah Bledsoe. Yet another defensive back taken by Belichick and company, their sixth in the last five seasons.

Here is your first look at why.

Versatile addition to the defense

Falling into the Bill Belichick class of DB draft picks, Joshuah Bledsoe has shown to be a versatile chess piece on defense. Throughout his four year career, Bledsoe started 40 of his 43 games, appearing as a box safety, free safety, and slot corner. The best trait that he showed throughout his time at Mizzou, was the ability to remember multiple assignments and execute at different spots throughout each game.

His addition to the secondary could help clarify the roles of those around him. Devin McCourty and Kyle Dugger will serve as the primary starters while Adrian Phillips, Jalen Mills, and Bledsoe fill in as role specific defenders. Phillips as a S/LB, Mills as a S/CB, and Bledsoe as a blend of all three.

High-end floor as a core special teamer

Late round defensive backs tend to start out as core special teamers. Keion Crossen, Nate Ebner, and Jonathan Wilhite all found ways to stick (for varying amounts of time) as special teamers. Though it’s not the sexy way of looking at a rookie, it’s the path many have to take to hold on to a roster spot. There is zero doubt that Bledsoe can carve out his initial role as a special teamer, if he wants it.

Addresses a future need

Though many of us don’t want to believe it, Devin McCourty will leave the Patriots one day. A sad reality we will all be forced to live through. When that day comes, they will need to find a replacement, and it looks like they’ve got their guy in Kyle Dugger.

Unfortunately you need two safeties. So while everyone slides up a spot to fill a more important role, Bledsoe could be the perfect option as a third safety who subs in on late downs to play man coverage down closer to the line of scrimmage. A high-end option if you’re looking at a role specific player.


How would you grade the Patriots’ decision to draft Joshuah Bledsoe at No. 188?

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