By most accounts the Patriots had one of the better drafts of 2021 after an off-season where they spent by far the most in free agency, but how do their 8 picks grade out, and did they move the needle at the top sportsbooks?
Pick 15 – Mac Jones – QB (Alabama)
The Patriots draft an un-athletic looking QB, where have we heard that one before? There was a lot of hype on the 49ers taking Jones at the #3 pick, but they went elsewhere and Jones fell in the laps of the Patriots in the middle of the first round.
Having added depth at a lot of positions in free agency and welcoming back some of the defensive opt-outs from last season the most pressing need for the Patriots when looking to the future was QB, so this was the automatic pick once Jones dropped to them.
It’s a little tough to judge his college tape due to him being at the best college and having NFL weapons all over the field, but he understands a pro playbook and is accurate while not having the strongest arm. Given a year or two to sit and learn from Belichick and co. is the perfect spot for them. Grade: A
Pick 38 – Christian Barmore – DT (Alabama)
They moved up in the second round, giving up two 4th round picks to move up 8 spots and take another ‘Bama prospect bringing in Barmore to help with their pass rush, an area which the Patriots tend to struggle with. Barmore is most effective as a pass rusher and PFF had him as the 12th best player on their big board. With players returning on defense he should prove to be a valuable piece for a team whose sack leader had just 5.5, and just 24 as a team. Grade: A-
Pick 96 – Ronnie Perkins – EDGE (Oklahoma)
Another pass rusher added to the defense with Perkins coming in. He needs to add weight which an NFL regime should enable him to do, but a three year starter in college with the ability to get into the backfield will do them well. Grade: B
Pick 120 – Rhamondre Stevenson – RB (Oklahoma)
Doubling down with Oklahoma prospect the Patriots added to the RB group with this pick. The Pats like to utilise multiple backs and with the expected news of them not picking up Sony Michel’s 5th year contract they need to add to Harris and White who will get the bulk of the work still. He can catch out of the backfield and is tough to bring down. Grade: B
Pick 177 – Cameron McGrone – LB (Michigan)
McGrone is full of potential and he couldn’t be in a better spot to achieve what his physical ability suggests he could, only played 19 games in college, but has good acceleration and lateral agility and blitzing, will get work on special teams and could have been taken higher. Grade: A-
Pick 188 – Joshuah Bledsoe – Safety (Missouri)
Played QB in college, but wasn’t highly recruited, moved to DB and it paid off, had 41 tackles and 1 interception in 10 games in his final season in college, can play in both safety spots and adept as a blitzer as well. Another typical Patriot pick, not a star but will fit in well. Grade: B
Pick 197 – Will Sherman – OT (Colorado)
The Patriots re-signed Trent Brown from the Raiders, David Andrews at Center and brought in another center in Ted Karras, so picking up a possible future starter who has played at LT and RT in college makes sense for them. Grade:B
Pick 242 – Tre Nixon – WR (UCF)
They made moves at WR in free agency as well with Kendrick Bourne and Nelson Agholor to add to their average WR pool. They won Superbowls without studs and it looks like that’s how they’re going again now. Nixon adds speed to the group and may get action on special teams. Grade: C
Overall Grade – B+
Overall I agree with the experts, it looks a solid draft for the Patriots, one that deals with issues on the current roster while looking to the future.
While none of the pick-ups should alter the win totals at online betting sites for this season with some of the best coaching in the league the future looks a little brighter for them after a typically well-executed draft plan.