NFL

5 thoughts on the Patriots and the second day of the 2021 NFL Draft

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One day after bolstering their offense by drafting potential quarterback of the future Mac Jones, the New England Patriots addressed the other side of the ball. The Patriots made two picks in the second and third rounds, adding Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore as well as edge linebacker Ronnie Perkins out of Oklahoma. While New England was comparatively quiet with the exception of the Barmore trade, we still have a lot to talk about.

Before doing that, however, please click here for a full pick-by-pick recap of Friday’s action. Also, please follow this link for an overview of the specific moves that the Patriots made. With that out of the way, let’s clean out the notebook from what happened over the course of the 73 selections between Rounds 2 and 3.

New England overpaid a bit on its Round 2 trade

There was considerable speculation that the Patriots would trade up in the first round in order to grab themselves a new quarterback. They did not, and eventually still ended up with Mac Jones.

They did, however, move up the board on Day 2 in order to pick Christian Barmore. The move allowed New England to add arguably the best defensive tackle in the draft, and a player capable of further bolstering the interior of a D-line that struggled mightily during the 2020 season.

In order to accomplish all that, the Patriots traded their original second-round pick (2-46) as well as two fourth-rounders (4-122 and 4-139) to the Cincinnati Bengals or the 38th overall choice. What does the Rich Hill draft value chart say about the move?

  • New England gets 2-38 (157.49 points)
  • Cincinnati gets 2-46 (127.71 points), 4-122 (22.09 points) and 4-139 (15.31 points)

As can be seen, the Patriots gave up a total chart value of 165.11 points. That is roughly the equivalent of the 36th overall pick, but well within the range of the expected cost to move up the board. After all, teams trying to trade up and possibly outbid their opposition need to add some incentive for other clubs to move back out of their original spot. So while New England did overpay according to the chart, the trade as a whole was a pretty fair one.

By the way, Cincinnati ended up drafting Clemson offensive lineman Jackson Carman with the 46th selection.

Bill Belichick says that trades are ‘a little higher than normal’

New England head coach and general manager Bill Belichick spoke about trades during his media conference call after the third round was over, and he acknowledged that the market is a bit more aggressive this year than it was in previous offseasons.

“I would say that the prices on the trades have been, I think, a little higher than normal. Certainly at the end of the third round those trades are pretty high. There weren’t a lot of trades in the first round, but I thought those were pretty high,” Belichick said. “My general impression was what teams were paying to move up pretty much at the start of the second round and then in the latter — well, maybe the whole third round, that it seemed like the teams that were moving back were doing pretty well on those trades.”

As can be seen above, that general impression also holds true for the Patriots-Bengals trade that eventually resulted in New England getting Christian Barmore. As opposed to some other moves made before or during the draft, however, that transaction still seems like a rather reasonable one to made, because it did neither involve any outlandish value or future assets to be pulled off.

“I think the teams that traded into next year did it because there was a lot of value,” Belichick said. “I think teams that were able to get those picks, I’m sure — obviously — they were happy with the trade or they wouldn’t have made them. But at the same time, teams were willing to give up picks in next year’s draft to move up, probably because they didn’t have enough resources in this year’s draft to meet the price that it was going to cost them to move.”

New England adds some versatility and explosiveness to the front seven

The New England front seven struggled in various areas during the 2020 season. One of the biggest was playing contain in the running game and turning quarterback pressure into actual positive plays for the defense (e.g. sacks). Christian Barmore and Ronnie Perkins should help in this area given that both add a nice mix of versatility and explosiveness to the equation.

How the Patriots will try to take advantage of that remains to be seen, but at least one of them appears to have an open mind about how he will be used in New England.

“Wherever Coach puts me at. Wherever he puts me at, that’s where I’m ready to work at. Wherever he puts me at,” said Barmore about his preferred position. “That’s how it was at Alabama. Wherever Coach puts me at, I’m just ready to be ready.”

Perkins did not specifically say the same, but he too seems to be ready to tackle whichever challenge lies ahead — whether it is rushing out of a three-point stance or as a stand-up outside linebacker.

“I feel real comfortable playing on my feet,” he pointed out. “One thing about me in college, just knowing that I would get to this point one day, this was just one of the things I practiced throughout getting better. Just playing as an outside linebacker and playing in a two-point stance. So, I feel real comfortable in it.”

Some projected Patriots find new homes elsewhere

On our list of the 50 best remaining players from Friday afternoon we noted that the Patriots would be in a good position to get quality talent at positions of need such as wide receiver and cornerback. Despite some good talent available at those and other positions after the Christian Barmore pick early in the second round, however, New England remained patient and did move back up to fill its gap between its second and third picks.

In turn, seemingly prototypical Patriots were allowed to go elsewhere instead. Wide receivers D’Wayne Eskridge (56th overall to the Seattle Seahawks) and Amari Rodgers (85th overall to the Green Bay Packers), linebacker Baron Browning (105th overall to the Denver Broncos), cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu (101st to the Detroit Lions), safety Trevon Moehrig (43rd to the Las Vegas Raiders) all seemed like good fits in New England but came off the board either in between or after the Barmore and Perkins picks.

Interesting moves are being made at the quarterback position

After a first-round run at quarterback that also saw New England pick one up, the second day started slower at the most important position on the field. No passer was picked before the 64th overall selection to close out the second round — an interesting move to kick things off: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Kyle Trask to back up and possibly one day succeed ex-Patriots QB Tom Brady.

The situation is reminiscent of the 2014 draft, when New England picked Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round as well. Circumstances were different back then, but the addition of Garoppolo at least indirectly led to Brady producing arguably the greatest stretch of quarterback play in NFL history between the 2014 and 2017 seasons.

Now, Tampa Bay will hope for a similar effect or to at least have some insurance policy in case the soon-to-be 44-year-old gets hurt or decides to step away from the game at one point.

Two more passers came off the board shortly following the Trask pick. The Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans drafted Kellen Mond and Davis Mills at No. 66 and No. 67, respectively. The Mills pick in particular is curious considering the legal circumstances surrounding current Houston starting quarterback Deshaun Watson. While the pick is no evidence of anything, one could see it as the Texans are setting themselves up for life after the Pro Bowler.

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