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Experts grade the Patriots 2021 Draft class


Experts hand out their grades on the Patriots 2021 NFL Draft class.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: B


"Belichick takes a first-round quarterback for the first time, and Patriots fans have to be excited. I think this is a great fit for Jones. I expect him to start a handful of games as a rookie. Barmore will have a role in Year 1 as well. My issue with this class: no receiving help for Jones until Round 7, and no corner at all. That's a missed opportunity, particularly in a deep class of cornerbacks."

Click here to read Mel Kiper Jr's Draft grades for all 32 NFL teams.

Chad Reuter, Draft Analyst: A-


"For months, we thought Jones would be a perfect fit in New England because of his similarities to Tom Brady. With the 49ers passing on Jones at No. 3, Bill Belichick just waited out the process and found the Alabama passer waiting for a phone call at No. 15. Jones doesn't have to be Brady to have success, just the accurate passer that the team, and offense, needs. Barmore flashed potential as a quality starter, but time will tell as to whether giving up two fourth-round picks to move up eight spots to get him was better than just seeing which D-linemen were available at the Pats' original slot. They found a top-50 talent in Perkins late in Round 3. Stevenson's power running complements Sony Michel, Damien Harris and James White. He was a top-125 pick on my board, though the team could have used a corner or receiver. McGrone is a typical Patriots linebacker prospect who could thrive under Belichick. Sherman similarly fits the mold of other New England linemen: short, big-bodied and tough."

Click here to read Chad Reuter's Draft grades for all 32 NFL team.

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports Senior Writer: B+


"The Patriots, despite the perception, haven't been a great drafting team lately. That changed here. Jones and second-round defensive tackle Christian Barmore will really help this team, Barmore right away and Jones down the line. Third-round edge player Ronnie Perkins is an impressive player. Bill Belichick has had a good offseason."

Click here to read Pete Prisco's Draft grades for all 32 NFL teams.

Danny Kelly, The Ringer: B-


"I'd be more excited about the Patriots' draft if they had traded up to take Justin Fields instead of waiting for Jones to fall into their laps at no. 15. Yet while the Alabama quarterback doesn't match Fields's potential, he's a great fit for this offense who instantly raises this team's offensive ceiling. Later, the Pats moved up in the second round to take a first-round-caliber talent in Barmore. And they grabbed a few intriguing playmakers on day three: Perkins provides some juice off the edge, and Stevenson―his former college teammate―should play a rotational role as a rookie."

Click here to read Danny Kelly's Draft grades for all 32 NFL teams.

Connor Orr, B


"Mac Jones can represent a youthful energy within the Patriots system, perhaps like a less toolsy Josh Allen (who is also more accurate and less turnover prone initially). Whether or not he starts right away remains to be seen, but his accuracy and the Patriots' improved weapon set should be putting opponents on notice for 2021. Belichick loves layering talent at the outside linebacker and edge positions. Despite signing Matt Judon and developing Chase Winovich, the Patriots added a tremendous value in Ronnie Perkins, who could help bolster New England's pass rush and shift the balance of power a bit, from a back-end focused defense to a more balanced unit that can bring pressure without perfect coverage."

Click here to read Connor Orr's Draft grades for all 32 NFL teams.

Pro Football Focus: A+


"The narrative surrounding Mac Jones for the past few weeks was focused on whether he was worth not just the No. 3 overall pick, but the three first-round selections the 49ers invested in that draft slot. At No. 15 overall, it's an entirely different conversation. Jones led the nation last season in overall PFF grade (95.8) and was the most accurate college quarterback in terms of adjusted completion rate (84.2%) PFF has seen. This is an outstanding pick. Christian Barmore is the best interior defender in this draft, and he should have been a first-round draft pick. He is the only consistently high-level pass rusher from the interior in this class, posting a 90.3 PFF pass-rushing grade against true passing sets last year. Barmore was the No. 12 overall player on the PFF Big Board. Perkins burst onto the scene with a 90.5 PFF grade last season. The problem was that his stellar play came on only 262 snaps, and some of that was against the lowly Kansas Jayhawks. If that production is real, he is an excellent steal at this pick. He has all the physical traits that the NFL covets at the position, and the Patriots can work with him to find a role on their defense. He needs to work on his hand usage but has everything else one could ask for in an edge rusher. McGrone has legitimate sideline-to-sideline speed. His combination of range and reliable tackling makes him well-suited to shut down outside rushing attacks and screens. And at 20 years old, McGrone has room to grow and improve on some of the concerns surrounding his coverage ability."

Click here to read Pro Football Focus's Draft grades for all 32 NFL teams

Vinny Iyer, B+


"The Patriots got their next quarterback and will work to get the most out of Jones' high floor. Bill Belichick also got three more exciting versatile players for his rebuilding defense with Barmore and Perkins boosting them vs. the pass and McGrone helping vs. the run. Stevenson is their ideal pure power back. Nixon can be a steal helping their passing game late."

Click here to read Vinny Iyer's Draft grades for all 32 NFL teams.

Phil Perry, NBC Sports: A-


"On a team that isn't loaded with openings after a whirlwind spending spree in free agency, to get two promising players on the first two days of the draft means the way-too-early draft grade here has to be a good one. Especially since the quarterback, arguably the best fit for the Patriots in this draft class, fell into their laps at No. 15."

Click here for Phil Perry's full breakdown on the Patriots Draft class.

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