The New England Patriots may not have gotten contributions out of its entire 2021 draft class so far, but the players who have made it onto the field regularly have had a major impact: first-round pick Mac Jones is the team’s starting quarterback after beating out incumbent Cam Newton over the summer; second-rounder Christian Barmore is playing a prominent role along the interior defensive line.
Both Jones and Barmore have impressed so far. Now, their contributions have been recognized by Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner: the two youngsters have made the PFF Midseason All-Rookie team.
QB: MAC JONES, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Jones has been far and away the most consistent rookie quarterback this season, and his 81.6 passing grade laps the next closest rookie quarterback by 22.2 grading points. While he may get the same criticism Tom Brady did for being a “check-down artist,” Jones’ 8.0-yard average depth of target (aDOT) is actually the same as Patrick Mahomes‘ and Justin Herbert‘s this season.
Starting all eight games so far this year, Jones has played some impressive football — all while leading one of the most complex offenses in the game. He may not always have been perfect, but he came as advertised and has all the makings of a future franchise quarterback.
Christian Barmore, meanwhile, has carved out a top rotational spot along New England’s D-line:
DI: CHRISTIAN BARMORE, NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
While he’s still earned just a 52.0 overall grade, no defensive tackle in the class has come close to flashing as much as Barmore. His 46 positively graded plays are eight more than any other defensive tackle in the class, and they rank 30th at the position in the NFL.
Playing multiple roles up front, Barmore has emerged as a disruptive player for the Patriots. His statistics may seem rather pedestrian at first glance — he has only one half-sack on the year — but the numbers do not tell the whole story: the 22-year-old has oftentimes simply controlled the point of attack to free up others to make plays on the ball-carriers. All in all, he has developed well so far and should continue to get regular opportunities.
The only other Patriots rookies to see the field at one point this year — fourth-round running back Rhamondre Stevenson and fifth-round offensive lineman William Sherman — have unsurprisingly not made the Midseason All-Rookie team.