The New England Patriots selected eight players during the 2021 NFL Draft. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones headlines New England’s ’21 draft class, which included four offensive players and four defensive players.
Let’s take a pick-by-pick look at each of the Patriots’ selections.
Round 1, No. 15 overall: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama
The Patriots did not have to trade up in the NFL Draft to land their quarterback of the future after all. Despite all the speculation of moving up to grab their quarterback, Jones was available at No. 15 for the Patriots to snag.
Ready for 𝗠𝗔𝗖tion. @MacJones_10 | @AlabamaFTBL pic.twitter.com/DrVf3Xilly
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 30, 2021
Jones set a college football record in 2020 by completing 77.4 percent of his passes. During his final season with the Crimson Tide, Jones threw for 4,500 yards, 41 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Based on the statistics alone, it’s clear Jones is an accurate passer and a good decision-maker.
Jones will compete with incumbent starter Cam Newton and third-year backup Jarrett Stidham for the starting quarterback gig. Head coach Bill Belichick claimed Newton is the team’s QB1, but a lot can change from now to September. Regardless of who starts Week 1, Jones is unquestionably the new face of the Patriots’ offense.
Round 2, No. 38 overall: Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama
The Patriots traded up eight spots to nab another Crimson Tide standout. They forked over their second-round pick (No. 46) and two fourth-round picks (No. 122 and No. 139) to the Cincinnati Bengals in order to draft defensive tackle Christian Barmore.
Barmore produced 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, and three pass deflections in 2020.
PATRIOTS’ Christian Barmore: Highest pass-rushing DT over the last two seasons (92.2) pic.twitter.com/HOYeksPbGu
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 30, 2021
Arguably the best DT of the 2021 Draft, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound Barmore will help fortify New England’s retooled front seven. He should fill the hole left by Adam Butler’s free agency defection to the Miami Dolphins.
Round 3, No. 96 overall: Ronnie Perkins, DE, Oklahoma
Ronnie Perkins played in just six games in 2020 after a failed drug test cut his season short, likely a factor in the defensive end sliding to the third round. Despite missing five games, Perkins posted 23 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, nine hurries, and 5.5 sacks in his last season with the Sooners.
Perkins joins a defensive edge group that added Matthew Judon and Kyle Van Noy in free agency. The rookie could be asked to move to outside linebacker. Perkins will bring a strong presence to the pass rush no matter which position he plays.
Patriots pick Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma ED
Only DL with 90+ grades in run-defense and pass-rush in 2020🔥 pic.twitter.com/3NEGn3Lkf0
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) May 1, 2021
Round 4, No. 120 overall: Rhamondre Stevenson, RB, Oklahoma
The Patriots were not done adding former Sooners. They drafted Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson with their fourth pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Stevenson, the 6-foot, 227-pound tailback, also served a suspension for a failed drug trust.
Stevenson is a between-the-tackles running back. His size indicates he could be used in short-yardage situations. He turned 101 carries into 665 yards and seven touchdowns across six games in 2020.
Rhamondre Stevenson is our first off-the-Prototypes-board pick for the Patriots.
BIG back. 6-feet. 231 pounds.
Second consecutive pick out of Oklahoma, following last night’s selection of Ronnie Perkins.
Two “Tides,” as Bill Belichick calls them. Two Sooners.
— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) May 1, 2021
Stevenson is also a talented pass catcher. He caught 18 balls for 211 yards—11.7 yards per reception—last season. Damien Harris is still the Patriots’ lead back, but Stevenson should figure his way into substantial playing time in his rookie campaign.
Round 5, No. 177 overall: Cameron McGrone, LB, Michigan
Bill Belichick has selected Michigan defenders—specifically linebackers—in three straight drafts. The Patriots took Chase Winovich in 2019, Josh Uche in 2020, and now Cameron McGrone joins the squad.
McGrone is coming off an ACL tear, so there’s a chance he won’t make significant contributions until 2022. He ended his college career with 91 tackles, three sacks, a forced fumble and a pass breakup in 19 games with the Wolverines.
Round 6, No. 188 overall: Joshuah Bledsoe, S, Missouri
Joshuah Bledsoe played various positions during his four seasons with the Missouri Tigers. The versatile defender played outside linebacker, slot cornerback and free safety. Over the past two seasons, Bledsoe accumulated a whopping 17 pass breakups.
Welcome to New England Joshua Bledsoe! Here’s some highlights ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/63tmsvVNHx
— The Spike King 👑 (@SpikeKing76) May 1, 2021
Bledsoe also contributed to special teams, something that undoubtedly stood out to Belichick. Bledsoe could see a large portion of his playing time via special teams in his first pro season.
Round 6, No. 197 overall: William Sherman, OL, Colorado
Another sixth round pick, another versatile player for the Patriots. The Patriots drafted offensive lineman William Sherman with the 197th pick. Sherman lined up at both left tackle and right tackle for the Colorado Buffaloes.
Patriots take OL William Sherman (Colorado) at No. 197 overall in Round 6. He’s played both tackle spots, as well as practicing at center. Another versatile offensive lineman.
— Ryan Hannable (@RyanHannable) May 1, 2021
The 6-foot-3, 304-pound blocker Sherman could be a candidate to move to the guard position in New England. A durable lineman, Sherman didn’t miss a single game over the last three seasons.
Round 7, No. 242 overall: Tre Nixon, WR, UCF
The Patriots finally addressed the receiver position with their final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Nixon began his collegiate career with the Ole Miss in 2017 after redshirting the 2016 season. He ultimately transferred to UCF, where he played from 2018-20.
Nixon had his best season with the UFC Knights in 2019. He caught 49 passes for 830 yards and seven touchdowns. All three figures ranked second on the team that year, trailing only current Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis.
Tre Nixon is a fantastic athlete at 6-feet, 187 pounds.
4.44 40-yard dash1.57-second 10-yard split35.5-inch vertical10-5 broad jump4.25-second broad jump6.81-second 3-cone
49 catches for 830 yards, seven TDs in 2019. Dislocated collarbone in 2020. https://t.co/jNeYs5oTlt
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) May 1, 2021
Nixon broke his collarbone during UCF’s season-opener while securing a touchdown grab. The injury kept Nixon sidelined for UCF’s next six contests.
Special teams could be Nixon’s best shot at playing time, though the Patriots’ lack of star receiving talent could play a factor in him seeing some snaps at wideout. Nixon joins a receiver group led by free-agent additions Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne, plus third-year wideouts Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry.