The New England Patriots’ draft classes of years past have not consistently generated a positive initial response. While players such as Kyle Dugger, Damien Harris or Chase Winovich eventually grew into important players for the team and fan favorites, the overall sentiment was more often than not a mix of “guess we’ll have to wait and see” and “who?”
This year was different, though. The Patriots addressed the biggest weakness on their roster by picking quarterback Mac Jones in the first round; they ended Day 2 by coming away with two players considered as steals at their eventual spots (defensive tackle Christian Barmore, edge defender Ronnie Perkins); they then added some depth pieces on both sides of the ball between the fourth and seventh rounds.
While New England did not add high-profile talent at the cornerback or offensive tackle positions, the team did what it seemingly set itself up to do after an aggressive free agency period: tackle the remaining questions on its roster, beginning at quarterback. It appears fans are happy with this approach.
As SB Nation’s latest Reacts survey shows, Bill Belichick and his team have earned good grades for their performance over draft weekend.
Of those participating — please click here to sign up for future surveys — 64 percent gave New England an A grade, while 28 percent handed out a B and 8 percent a C. Fewer than 0.5 percent, meanwhile, graded the Patriots’ 2021 draft class with either a D or an F. The fan base was on board with what New England was doing during the draft, with the Mac Jones selection probably a big factor behind this.
The Patriots’ draft class was therefore among the highest graded in the entire NFL. In fact, only two other teams received more general approval from their respective fan bases: 86 percent of Cleveland Browns fans participating in the Reacts survey handed out an A for their team, with 79 percent of Chicago Bears fans doing the same.
On the other end of the spectrum are the Houston Texans’ and the New Orleans Saints’ fans: less than 0.5 percent of participants handed out As for their performances in the draft. Time will tell whether or not those grades will be justified, but fans are certainly not happy with those performances.
As for the Patriots, the Reacts numbers are similar to the fan poll we did at the end of the seventh round:
How would you grade the Patriots’ 2021 draft performance?
This poll is closed
56 percent of the almost 8,000 participants gave the Patriots an A in this survey. While that number is a bit lower than its Reacts counterpart, it still shows that New England fans are generally happy with the players brought in last week. Now all they have to do is live up to the hype.
If you are interested in participating in our NFL Reacts survey, please sign up here.