The 2021 NFL Draft is in the books.
The New England Patriots selected a total of eight players, from Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th overall pick in the first round to UCF wide receiver Tre Nixon with pick No. 242 in the seventh.
Between those two selections, New England grabbed a highly touted defensive tackle, a sliding edge rusher, a burly running back, a versatile safety and an undersized offensive tackle. Those players will compete for roles and roster spots in the coming months.
Here’s a full rundown of their 2021 draftees:
First round, 15th overall: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Initially viewed as a likely target for San Francisco at No. 3, Jones fell into the Patriots’ laps at No. 15. He lacks the top-end athleticism and arm strength of this year’s other top QB prospects and played in a near-perfect offensive situation with the Crimson Tide, but he checks every box for what New England typically looks for in its quarterbacks.
Second round, 38th overall: DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
The Patriots traded up eight spots to draft Barmore, the top prospect in a weak D-tackle class. He has three-down potential but is relatively inexperienced and wasn’t a consistent performer in college. The trade for Barmore — sending a second-round pick and two fourths to Cincinnati — was the only one New England made this weekend.
Third round, 96th overall: EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
The Patriots might have gotten a steal in Perkins, who was viewed as a second-round prospect but tumbled to the end of the third. A six-game suspension following a positive test for marijuana likely contributed to his slide, and his pro day wasn’t overly impressive. But Perkins excelled as a pass rusher and run defender for the Sooners and should be a valuable addition to New England’s revamped edge group.
Fourth round, 120th overall: RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma
At 6 feet, 231 pounds, Stevenson is the heaviest running back the Patriots have drafted under Bill Belichick. His tape shows shades of LeGarrette Blount’s tackle-breaking ability — only five FBS rushers had higher forced missed tackle rates, per Pro Football Focus — and he also has solid receiving chops for a back his size. A former teammate of Perkins’, Stevenson also served an identical six-game suspension for the same violation, missing Oklahoma’s 2019 bowl game and the first five games of 2020.
Fifth round, 177th overall: LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan
Chase Winovich, Josh Uche and now McGrone. The Patriots sure do love their Michigan defenders. McGrone was a two-year starter at inside linebacker for the Wolverines but might not be immediately available after tearing his ACL last November. Don’t be surprised if the Patriots redshirt him this season.
Sixth round, 188th overall: S Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri
Bledsoe is another versatile safety to add to New England’s stable of multi-positional defensive backs. He played mostly in the slot last season and played in 46 games (22 starts) over his four years at Missouri.
Sixth round, 197th overall: OT William Sherman, Colorado
Sherman might be a guard on most NFL teams, but the Patriots, who don’t mind undersized tackles, could keep him at his collegiate position. The 6-foot-3, 304-pound Sherman started 15 games at left tackle and 12 at right tackle for the Buffaloes.
Seventh round, 242nd overall: WR Tre Nixon, UCF
Nixon is a former four-star recruit who began his college career at Ole Miss after receiving interest from Alabama and Georgia. He transferred to UCF in 2018 and was a three-year starter, averaging 15.6 yards per catch for his career. Perhaps his draft stock would have been higher if a shoulder injury hadn’t limited him to four games last season. He ran the three-cone drill in 6.81 seconds at 6 feet, 187 pounds.
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