The athletic linebacker out of the University of Alabama was a healthy scratch throughout his rookie season, but that didn’t stop Bleacher Report from predicting the edge rusher as the team’s breakout player in 2022 and there is good reason behind that.
With the team thin at the linebacker position as far as experience, Perkins and fellow teammates Josh Uche, Anfernee Jennings and Cameron McGrone will have an opportunity to flourish on defense. Bill Belichick seems to be counting on those players to take a step forward. If they do, the Patriots’ defense will be intriguing to watch and it may start with Perkins who has the talent to be an explosive player just as B/R outlines in their prediction:
"“Perkins will be relied upon to deliver this season in the same way he impacted Oklahoma. He brings a good blend of speed and power to a unit with only one other option to produce in Josh Uche. Unlike Uche, though, Perkins has a powerful base to rely on in the run game. He’ll earn snaps over Uche on early downs and continue his breakout as he gains on-field experience in 2022.”"
Ronnie Perkins has the tools to breakout in New England Patriots defense in 2022
At 6-foot-3, 253 pounds, Perkins entered the draft as an undersized defensive end with an impressive motor. In other words, he gets after the quarterback and could excel on the opposite side of Matthew Judon. It is actually his burst off the line that will make him an intriguing player to watch on the Patriots’ defense.
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In fact, former teammate and offensive guard Marquis Hayes labeled Perkin’s as a “different breed” as he recalled their battles on the practice field during their Oklahoma days.
"“We’d go back and forth a little bit, but Ronnie Perkins is a different breed,” Hayes said, via Boston.com back in March. “He’s got the versatility to go inside, outside and through you. He’s a great guy.”"
With 16.5 sacks in his college career, Perkins seems to be taking a similar path to that of Trey Flowers who also sat his first year with the Patriots and learned on the sidelines. Then, he broke out and his second and third seasons to be one of the team’s most important defensive players.
The question is can he flash enough in training camp to earn the opportunity that seems to be his for the taking?
If he does, the 2021 draft class will be talked about as one of Belichick’s best as Mac Jones, Christian Barmore and Rhamondre Stevenson all make an impact on the field in their rookie seasons. If Ronnie Perkins breaks out, the first four draft selections will be talked about as the core that may perhaps take the New England Patriots into the next decade of competitive football.
Oh, no pressure at all Ronnie Perkins…unless you are putting consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks that is.