I was supposed to do an article on the Patriots Undrafted Free Agent signings. A funny thing happened on the way to the Forum … The Patriots, nor any player agents have announced any signings by the Patriots. They now have 7 open spots to reach the 90 man limit. The League gave the Patriots an exemption for a Foreign Development Player, Jakob Johnson. The Patriots will get another spot for Patrick Chung, who will make his retirement official after June 2nd for salary cap reasons.
I will instead post a re-cap of the Draft Weekend, trade-up, and players I like and dislike. Overall the perception is the Patriots had a great draft. I didn’t see it that way. The way the 1st round fell out surprised me and NFL Observers. The smokescreen San Francisco put out surrounding the 3rd overall pick was magnificent. Nearly everyone believed they were taking Mac Jones. The next surprise was the fact that neither Detroit, Carolina nor Denver traded out of their spots. They took two of the top two CBs. At 10 we are looking at the possibility of having our choice of QB’s (Fields and Jones).
In my last Mock Draft, I passed on Mac Jones at #15 essentially because I did not believe the Patriots coaches and scouts had a high enough grade on Jones to select him at #15. There were three players available (Jones, Jaycee Horn, and Kyle Pitts) so I traded down and took Horn. This was how unrealistic these online simulators are.
I was very encouraged by the video clip the Patriots released of the 1st pick in the war room. Bill Belichick made sure everyone was in concurrence with the pick. I am pleased with the selection of Mac Jones, whom I feel we will not have to wait the entire season for him to be ready. They also passed in their pick with 5+ minutes remaining of time for the pick.
My problems started with the 2nd selection. I couldn’t understand why the Patriots were trading up. Christian Barmore was not on my list of Patriots-type players. Further, after watching him several times in Alabama games on TV, I thought he was a dog. He had all this size and ability and just wasn’t doing anything. I screamed when the selection was made. I’m surprised you didn’t hear me from Southern NH. To make matters worse, the Patriots overpaid to make the trade. We found out later, the cost of moving up (or down) was high. If you initiated the trade, you had to overpay to make it happen.
Greg Bedard did some research on Barmore and at least one team didn’t have him on their board because of maintenance issues. Alabama had to cajole and cater to Barmore. They had a hard time getting him to meetings and to the classroom. He almost transferred at the end of 2019. There are some maturity issues that need to be watched. This is a risky pick that could pay high dividends or be a complete bust. Pro Football Focus (PFF) had Barmore ranked #12.
No activity prior to our 3rd round pick #96. Patriots selected Ronnie Perkins Edge Oklahoma. PFF had Perkins listed as #42 in their rankings. From the value point of view, this was good. However, this is a redundant pick at a position we didn’t have a big need for. He is Chase Winowich but slower. I was disappointed because my favorite player was still on the board and they didn’t take him. OC/OG Quinn Meinerz was taken two picks later. Yes they didn’t need a C or G, but next year both Tackles may be UFA, and Karras the backup at G and C is also a Free Agent. I think Meinerz is going to be a star in this league for a long time. Perkins has also suspended 6 games because of a failed drug test. According to Greg Bedard, Rhamondre Stevenson was also suspended and it’s believed to be marijuana. I will highlight that PFF had Perkins with high grades for run defense and pass rush, both in the ’90s.
Onto pick 120 in the 4th round and they take an RB that runs a 4.63 40 yard dash. Yes, he is a big back that can catch. He plays faster than he tested. You can’t argue with his production at Oklahoma, 1100 yards and 14 TDS in two years. He averaged 8.0 yards per carry. This may be a LeGarrette Blount type of player. I would have preferred a player with more speed. He also plays Special Teams which is not good news for Brandon Bolden.
In the 5th round #177, they select an LB that can’t play this year. Again they received high grades for taking Cameron McGrone LB Michigan. Supposedly, McGrone can run sideline to sideline, but that was before his ACL injury that ended his 2020 season. McGrone looks like he will be on the Non-Football Injury list or Physically Unable to Play list in 2021. He will look toward 2022 as his rookie season.
The final three picks were as I suspected they would be. BBB used the last three picks like taking Priority UDFA that he didn’t have to compete for. Tre Nixon WR UCF is the most interesting. He was given an 8.98 RAS rating. RAS is a Relative Athletic Score, a mathematical model for measuring athleticism. In comparison, Rhamondre Stevenson a 4.02. Julian Edelman’s rating was 9.27, all on a scale of 10. Nixon broke his collarbone in week 1 of 2020, but came back and played the last three games.
I was very disappointed the Ravens selected Michigan FB Ben Mason with the last pick in Round 5 #184. The Patriots took Bledsoe at #177 rather than Mason. Mason had all the traits the Patriots look for, a devastating blocker, and plays on all 4 special teams.
It was very classy of BB and the Patriots team to honor Ernie Adams in the 7th round and allow him to actually make the final selection of Tre Nixon. Adams has been part of the organization since 1976 with Chuck Fairbanks. Adams was credited for making the outstanding selection of David Givens. The Patriots took so long to make the pick in 2002 that the team behind them actually jumped ahead and made a selection after the Patriots used all their time. Givens, primarily an RB at Notre Dame, made himself into an excellent WR.
It appears that Minnesota wanted to move up for Justin Fields. Mike Lombardi reported that New Orleans wanted to move into the top 10 for a CB, but they were gone. Then they tried for Mac Jones and got shut out again. They were at #28, and if the teams were willing to trade, the cost would have been outrageous. I’m glad Minnesota didn’t like Mac Jones.
Patriots exercised the 5th year option on Isaiah Wynn, guaranteeing his 2022 salary ($10K+). They also declined Sony Michel’s 5th year, making him a UFA in 2022. With the Wynn exercise, that decreases the liability at OT next year. This makes the Sherman selection an even more curious pick.
Two theories have been floated as to why the Patriots haven’t been very active in the UDFA market. The first is there was such a small draft class size 600 vs the normal 1100. This was due to the fact the NCAA granted all seniors an extra year of eligibility due to COVID.
The second reason is that there is a large number of quality veteran Free Agents still available on the market. Wouldn’t Richard Sherman be a nice signing for a vet-minimum contract?
The Patriots will be having a Rookie Camp probably next weekend. They will be able to sign 7 UDFA and invite 5 UDFA in on a tryout basis, as well as the 8 draft picks.
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Draft
Tags: 2021 Patriots Draft Ben Mason Brandon Bolden Cameron McGrone Christian Barmore Chuck Fairbanks David Givens Ernie Adams Jakob Johnson Julian Edelman LeGarrette Blount New England Patriots Notre Dame Quinn Meinerz Rhamondre Stevenson Richard Sherman Ronnie Perkins San Francisco 49ers