The 2021 NFL Draft was an exercise in patience for Christian Barmore. He was invited to Cleveland among other top-ranked prospects, but had to keep waiting in the green room while players were coming off the board one after the other — including six of his former teammates at the University of Alabama.
Barmore, however, did not join them and had to leave the first day of the draft with his name still on the board and his landing spot remaining in question. He eventually had to wait until Round 2 to finally hear his name called: the New England Patriots swung a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to move up eight spots to No. 38 and make the 21-year-old the highest interior defensive lineman selected this year.
Despite the wait, the final outcome was a positive one for Barmore. Not only did he find an NFL home on the second day of the draft, he also landed with his favorite team growing up.
“It was a dream come true, like a blessing from God. For Coach Belichick and Robert Kraft — it really is a blessing. Literally my favorite team growing up and it’s a real blessing,” Barmore said during a media conference call shortly after getting picked by the Patriots.
“Being selected by Bill Belichick and especially having learned from a guy like Coach Saban, it’s a blessing being a part of both of them, playing for both of them. It’s really a dream come true.”
Barmore spent three seasons under long-time Bill Belichick confidante Nick Saban. After taking a redshirt year upon arrival in Tuscaloosa, he appeared in all 12 games for the Crimson Tide the following season. That year, Barmore laid the foundation to establish himself as one of the top D-line prospects in the country — a player that ended up playing a key role for the National Championship team in 2020.
A second-team All-American and Defensive MVP of the title game win over Ohio State, Barman is no stranger to playing successful football. In fact, winning was what made the Patriots his team in the first place.
“You know, my favorite college team was Alabama. So I loved dominance. [New England]’s like the same program, just in the NFL. And they’re winners. I love winners,” he said last week.
The Patriots may be coming off a 7-9 campaign, but winning has been their M.O. ever since Belichick took over as head coach in 2000. In order to get to that ultimate goal, the future Hall of Famer also relied on his fair share of Alabama players such as Barmore. In fact, the rookie was not even the only player from the program to get drafted by New England over the weekend.
One round before bringing Barmore in, the Patriots invested in his former teammate Mac Jones. Given their background together, the quarterback and the defensive lineman have plenty of familiarity with each other.
“Mac Jones, that’s really my guy,” Barmore said when speaking about his fellow New England draft pick. “Since really my freshman year, I’ve known this guy and always been with him every day. That’s really my guy right there, you know?”
After getting drafted in back-to-back rounds, the two will now become the fourth and fifth Alabama players on New England’s current roster. They will join linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Anfernee Jennings as well as running back Damien Harris.
The fact that he will be joining an environment that has been friendly to Crimson Tide players in the past is not lost on Barmore.
“I’m really happy to be playing with the OG Dont’a Hightower, it’s a blessing. Playing with guys like them — I played with Damian my first few years — is really a blessing come true. Like a group coming back home.”
Harris and especially Hightower have left their mark on the organization over the years. Jennings will try to get there as well in his second year as a Patriot, while both Jones and Barmore will attempt to join them and become contributors as well. Given the investments made in all of them, New England will hope that they can do just that — and keep the winning alive that Barmore and Jones experienced at the collegiate level.