First-round quarterback Mac Jones stole the spotlight among the New England Patriots’ rookies in 2021 — and rightfully so —, but the team’s second-round selection also had a very good campaign. In fact, Christian Barmore was one of the best rookie defenders in all of football last year.
Even though he did not produce a lot of highlight-reel plays, Barmore proved himself a disruptive presence along New England’s defensive line on a week-to-week basis. Not only did he register 48 tackles, he also notched a combined 48 quarterback disruptions, according to Pro Football Focus.
Only 1.5 of those came in the form of sacks, however. According to the man himself, that is something he wants to change in Year 2.
“What I want to work on? Finish the quarterback, really,” Barmore said on Monday when asked about his goals this offseason. “That’s really my thing right there. Finish really that. And better footwork. That’s it, finishing.”
Barmore successfully converting disruptions into takedowns would be good news for a defense that ranked 11th in pressure rate last regular season (25.6%) but only 18th with 36 sacks. And with the team parting ways with its number two sack producer from a year ago — linebacker Kyle Van Noy, who had 5.0 QB takedowns in 2021 — there is a need for somebody to help fill the void.
Obviously, Van Noy and Barmore play different positions. Nonetheless, the young D-lineman increasing his sack numbers would go a long way towards New England’s defense as a whole finding more success versus the pass in 2022.
As for Barmore himself, he sounds confident in his abilities — and excited to start showcasing them again.
“I feel really good, really comfortable with the defensive team,” the 22-year-old said on Monday. “Really excited to be back. I cannot wait to play real football again.”
New England traded up in the second round of last year’s draft to select Barmore — the first defensive tackle to come off the board — 38th overall. The Alabama product went on to appear in all 18 of the team’s games and was on the field for 631 of the Patriots’ 1,135 defensive snaps (55.6%).