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The NFL Draft is a weekend of dreams coming true, and after selecting Mac Jones on the first night, the Patriots made seven picks over the course of the second and third day. Christian Barmore, Ronnie Perkins, Rhamondre Stevenson, Cameron McGrone, Joshuah Bledsoe, William Sherman and Tre Nixon are your newest Patriots.
While there is still much to learn about how each of these guys will fit into the Patriots locker room, let's get to know them -- off of the field.
In the words of Bill Belichick, the Patriots have "a lot of Tides up here," and if it's possible for a sentence to get truer with time, this is the one. After trading up to the 38th pick, the Patriots selected Christian Barmore of, you guessed it, Alabama.
This marks the sixth time since 2000 that the Patriots have used back-to-back picks to select players from the same school. He joins Mac Jones, Damien Harris, Dont'a Hightower and Anfernee Jennings as former Alabama players on the current Patriots roster.
As much of it is an Alabama reunion, for Barmore, it is a chance to play for the team he rooted for as a kid. Despite growing up in Philadelphia, Barmore's favorite team growing up was, in fact, the Patriots. On his first conference call with New England media, he said he loved the team for the same reason he loved Alabama.
"My favorite college team was Alabama, so I love dominance. It's like the same program, just in the NFL. I love winners."
Next up is defensive end Ronnie Perkins out of Oklahoma.
Since Perkins was a kid, football was everything. In an endearing anecdote featured in The Athletic, Perkins marked up the floors in his family's home because he would only wear his football cleats. From a young age, Perkins was always doing more and doing things bigger than his parents expected. Even though he's the youngest of six, Perkins earned the name "Man Man" because of he was always surprising people with his sense of invincibility, his mother told The Athletic.
In his first interview with media as a Patriot, Perkins said that Patriots fans could expect big things from him -- on and off the field.
"In the long run, I definitely know the Patriots fans will love me. Just from watching the past Patriots defensive greats, I definitely know they will love me and the way I play," Perkins said. "Just as a person, they're getting a guy who loves to interact with the community, who loves to interact with the fans, so they'll definitely see me around New England a lot. Like I said, I just can't wait to go out there and get there and get the whole thing, like man, I'm really a Patriot now. I just can't wait."
For the seventh time since 2000 and the second time this weekend, the Patriots selected back-to-back picks from the same school when they picked Rhamondre Stevenson also out of Oklahoma. Perkins was clearly excited to see his former Sooner teammate would be joining him in Foxborough.
Stevenson clawed his way to this moment every step of the way, including two years at Cerritos College, a junior college in California. Coming from Nevada, Stevenson was paying out-of-state tuition, working part-time on top of football and classes just to make it to the next step. He, of course, landed at Oklahoma, and despite only being a Sooner for two years, he made an impact and lasting bonds, including with Perkins.
"I was at OU for two years and we built a very strong bond in two years. So that was really my guy, that's my right-hand, so it's crazy that we got drafted to the same team," Stevenson said. "We actually talked about this during the season, so it's crazy we manifested it and now we've just got to go to work."
McGrone is only 20 years old, but he has shown maturity beyond his years. That is most clearly on display when he's talking about his younger brother, Aaron Redd. At age 4, Redd was diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and despite being nine years older than Redd, McGrone said it feels like they're "twins sometimes," according to Michigan Daily.
For years, Redd became overstimulated by loud noises and crowds. While their mother proceeded with caution, often leaving McGrone's games early because of the overwhelming nature of his football games and track matches, McGrone worked with Redd to make him feel more comfortable, like warning him before a buzzer would go off. It took time, but soon enough, the two were going to games regularly and Redd was able to watch his brother play.
While football took priority over track, there's a history of track runners in McGrone's family. His cousin, Candyce McGrone, ran for Floriday State, Univeersity of Oklahoma and Team USA.
If you've got a Drew Bledsoe jersey in your closet, there's a chance you could repurpose it for a current player after Saturday. Joshuah Bledsoe, a safety out of the University of Missouri, was selected, and though he rocked No. 1 in college, all it would take is an added "1" for Patriots fans to reduce, reuse and recycle.
Aside from sharing a name with a Patriots great, he used to share a position. Before switching to safety his freshman year of high school, a move that he initially wanted to resist, according to The Missourian, he played quarterback. Ironically, that's something Bledsoe's mom, Jamaile, took into consideration when naming her son. Josh felt like a great name for a future star quarterback, but she added an 'h' on the end so his full name would be seven letters long, like every other member of his family.
Despite the initial hesitancy about moving to safety as a teenager, Bledsoe soon excelled, and he did in the classroom as well, landing on the SEC Academic Honor Roll. While at Mizzou, he was also a brother of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and he'll be joining some fellow Ques on the Patriots, including Damien Harris and Raekwon McMillan
The Patriots selected William Sherman, an offensive lineman from the University of Colorado, with the 197th overall pick.
At Colorado, Sherman majored in communications with a minor in leadership studies, according to his collegiate roster bio, which also listed his hobbies as traveling and playing video games. In his final year playing in Boulder, Sherman got the opportunity to return home to Texas to play in the Alamo Bowl in front of a familiar crowd.
Sherman grew up in Allen, and his sophomore year, his high school team won the state championship. Sherman played guard and blocked for none other than Kyler Murray. Football wasn't his only sport. Sherman also threw shot put and discus.
With their final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Patriots picked up wide receiver Tre Nixon out of Central Florida.
As it turns out, football is family for the Nixons. While Tre started his collegiate career at Ole Miss, he transferred after two years to Central Florida. His older brother, Devin, played at Western Kentucky University, but with one year of eligibility left after graduating, Devin and Tre became teammates once again in 2019.
While there was joy in the family reunion of 2019, the 2020 college football season was a year that tested him and showed him just how strong he is. In the season opener against Georgia Tech, Nixon broke his collar bone and was out for seven games. Seeing his teammates carry on while he was in recovery was one of the toughest things he's had to deal with physically and mentally, Nixon told The Orlando Sentinel.
"Going through that experience taught me how much I do love football," Nixon told the paper. "It taught me about perseverance. It taught me what I must do to get my body back."
With the 2021 NFL Draft in the books, Patriots Nation has quite a few new players to get acquainted with before undrafted free agent signings start rolling in.