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Patriots’ 2021 draft class ranked as the third best in the NFL

Related: Mac Jones is a prototypical Bill Belichick quarterback

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NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Knoxville News Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots were patient throughout the 2021 NFL Draft, making only one trade the entire weekend. That move, however, allowed the team to come away with one of the biggest steals in this year’s draft — at least according to Pro Football Focus.

Defensive tackle Christian Barmore was identified as a “key value” pick in a recent ranking of the top draft classes. The Barmore selection at No. 38 as well as that of edge defender Ronnie Perkins later on Day 2 allowed the Patriots to come in third place when compared to the other clubs in the league:

3. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Key Value Picks

DI Christian Barmore (PFF Board Rank: 12)

EDGE Ronnie Perkins (PFF Board Rank: 43)

While this draft class obviously hinges on quarterback Mac Jones, the Patriots crushed Day 2. In a very weak defensive tackle class, I figured Barmore would get over-drafted and not under-drafted. But after going at Pick 38, Barmore became one of the biggest steals of the draft, according to the PFF board. The Patriots also got themselves a steal at the end of the third in Ronnie Perkins. Perkins is one of the most well-refined and productive edge rushers in a class full of athletic projects. He’s the only one who earned pass-rushing and run-defense grades over 90.0 last season.

As was noted by author Michael Renner, whether or not the draft class will be a success ultimately depends on the development of first-round quarterback Mac Jones. Nonetheless, the Patriots were able to find some good value even after going QB at No. 15 and addressing the biggest need on the roster; whether it was Barmore and Perkins, or Day 3 picks such as running back Rhamondre Stevenson and linebacker Cameron McGrone.