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Patriots’ Christian Barmore named dark-horse candidate to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

Related: Patriots roster breakdown: DT Christian Barmore

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Patriots Training Camp Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images

The usually trade-happy New England Patriots made only one such deal during this year’s draft. However, trading up in the second round allowed them to bring the best defensive tackle prospect this year’s class aboard: Alabama’s Christian Barmore.

Despite falling out of the first round, Barmore’s upside cannot be denied. Whether or not he already shows it during his rookie season remains to be seen, but he has already been listed as a “dark-horse candidate” to win the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year honors — at least by Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash, who wrote the following about the youngster:

DI Christian Barmore, New England Patriots (+2,000)

Barmore’s slide in the 2021 NFL Draft was questionable, to say the least. He was the clear No. 1 defensive lineman on the PFF Big Board and 12th-rated prospect overall. Yet, the Patriots were able to grab him in Round 2.

The pre-draft chatter about how the former Alabama star might not respect or seek out coaching was seemingly overblown; it has yet to be an issue up in New England playing for Bill Belichick, and he has the kind of talent that warranted a first-round selection.

Reports indicate that Barmore was a force to be reckoned with in one-on-ones in camp last week before a minor injury forced him to the sidelines — and he got to see reps with the team’s starting unit.

Again, this isn’t a surprise. Barmore has the ideal frame at 6-foot-4 and 310-pounds with 34 5/8-inch arms, and he also boasts great hand usage, burst, power and bend. There’s no wonder why he earned a Power Five-best 92.2 pass-rush grade from 2019 to 2020, or why he generated a 91.3 pass-rush grade and 12 pressures against Notre Dame and Ohio State in the 2020 College Football Playoff.

Barmore is as NFL-ready as they come. If he ends up with a starting spot, count on him making an impact.

Barmore has indeed looked good in training camp so far, showing up repeatedly during 1-on-1s. While that does not necessarily mean he will also find immediate success once the regular season starts, it was encouraging to see.

As far as the Defensive Rookie of the Year award is concerned, Barmore would have to beat the odds to win the award. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, he is listed at +2,000 to win the trophy, with 10 other first-year defenders having better odds than him.