New England Patriots 2021 NFL Draft day 2 grade: Bill Belichick loads up on defense

A Rhinstone encrusted New England Patriot helmet is on display at the Locker Room exhibit at the NFL Draft Experience on Thursday April 29, 2021.Draft 17
A Rhinstone encrusted New England Patriot helmet is on display at the Locker Room exhibit at the NFL Draft Experience on Thursday April 29, 2021.Draft 17 /

After selecting Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots went into day two with the 46th and the 96th picks.

What followed was one of the better days in recent New England draft history. Bill Belichick finally showed some draft day aggression that actually has a good chance of paying off (no offense, Dalton Keene).

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The Patriots began the day by moving up eight spots in the second round through a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Patriots gave up the 46th pick, and two 2021 fourth-rounders in the move. A fairly steep price for an eight spot difference, but one that could end up paying dividends.

With the 38th pick, Belichick and the Patriots stuck with the Crimson Tide and selected Christian Barmore, an interior defensive lineman from Alabama.

Barmore is a classic Belichick pick. He’s massive, at 6’5″ and 310 pounds, and he’s versatile. He’s a plug-and-play kind of lineman and will make an immediate impact on a defensive line that struggled last season.

Barmore was widely considered to be a first-round talent and the best player at his position in this year’s draft. Though two fourth-rounders and a second-round swap is a bit of an overpay in theory, Barmore could easily return that value in just his rookie year.

The Patriots ended their night by using their third-round compensatory pick from Tom Brady’s exodus to Tampa Bay on Ronnie Perkins, an edge rusher from Oklahoma.

Belichick’s defense was horrendous against the run in 2020, and he is clearly committed to rectifying that through free agency and the draft. Though Perkins is slightly undersized at 6’3″ and 247 pounds, he was a highly disruptive player in college and can bring a ton of energy and production to the front seven.

The Patriots went into this offseason knowing their run defense and quarterback pressure were weaknesses. They have done nothing but address that through free agency and day two of the 2021 NFL Draft, selecting two players with top three pass-rush win rates at their position.

New England Patriots get two steals on day two

Both Barmore and Perkins were projected to be off the board long before their names were called last night. Multiple analysts had Barmore going in the first round and Perkins as a top-50 player.

Pro Football Focus’s big board had Barmore ranked 12th overall and Perkins ranked 43rd overall. For what it’s worth, PFF also had Jones ranked 14th overall.

Next. ‘Blue smoke and Mirrors’ approach lands Mac Jones at 15. dark

Though the jury is out on the Patriots draft selections, they have at least offered up answers as to who the quarterback of the future will be, and how they will improve their front seven.

New England Patriots. 2021 NFL DRAFT DAY 2. A-. .