A day after getting their new quarterback out of Alabama, the Patriots went back to Nick Saban's team for help in the second round. Christian Barmore, a defensive tackle most believed was the best player at his position, was Bill Belichick's target after the coach moved a pair of fourth-round picks to move up from 14th to 6th in the round.
Although Barmore doesn't necessarily fill a huge need inside, his talent likely intrigued Belichick enough to make the move. The Patriots run defense was abysmal in 2020, but free agent additions Davin Godchaux, Henry Anderson, Montravius Adams as well as returning players Lawrence Guy and Deatrich Wise appeared to be enough to solve that problem. Despite that, Barmore was too talented to pass up.
And it's not hard to see why. Barmore was a disruptive force during his time with the Crimson Tide, showcasing solid run-stuffing skills as well as an ability to penetrate and make plays in the backfield. Barmore had 10 career sacks, including eight in 2020 as part of the national champion defense.
Late in the third round the Patriots grabbed defensive end Ronnie Perkins out of Oklahoma. Perkins had 16.5 sacks in three seasons in Norman, but has been a bit inconsistent against the run. He should add some depth to the edge, an area that also has been a problem in the Patriots defense as of late.
The Barmore pick represents excellent value and he will have a chance to fit in quickly and carve out a role, even if it's just as an interior pass rusher early on. That said, the thought of moving up early in the second round had thoughts of a wide receiver dancing in many Patriots fans' heads. That wasn't to be, and the fact that the Jets were able to move up before New England did and selected Elijah Moore, a wideout out of Ole Miss, added to the disappointment. Moore possesses the kinds of skills – short-area quickness, refined route-running and speed – to be a dangerous threat out of the slot and should add a dynamic element to any offense.
Two other interesting wideouts – LSU's Terrace Mashall and Purdue's Rondale Moore – came off the board after the Barmore pick, leaving the Patriots still lacking some depth in the pass catching department as the third round arrived.
Despite that, Barmore figures to be a fixture in the middle of the Patriots defense for years to come. The problems stopping the run a year ago were widespread, and also were nothing new. The 2019 season ended when Tennessee's Derrick Henry ran wild over the Patriots in their wild card win in Foxborough, and that continued in 2020. New England ranked 26th in the league stopping the run, so the fact that Belichick felt so strongly about fixing that problem should come as no surprise.
Belichick also has long sought a consistent presence inside to collapse the pocket. Quality role players such as Jarvis Green have thrived in that capacity, In the ensuing seasons he tried finding athletic interior rushers with Dominique Easleyt in the first round but failed. In recent years he's used Adam Butler in that capacity, but Barmore possesses considerably more talent and upside for the role.
And he's also capable of being much more than just a situational player with the ability to play on all three downs. He may not be needed for full-time duty immediately, but assuming he develops as expected Barmore will soon find himself in the thick of things up front.