Patriots 2021 NFL Draft Breakdown

The 2021 NFL draft is officially over, how did the Patriots fare this year? Are they still “bad at drafting”? How does it hold up in terms of talent? Let’s find out…

Round 1, Pick 15: Mac Jones, Quarterback, Alabama

The Patriots get their man in Alabama’s Mac Jones. Jones possesses a great football IQ, pro ready decision making, and pinpoint accuracy, I won’t spend too much time on this pick as I have already covered it. If you want the full opinion, here is the article link: https://cjspatriotsopinions.com/2021/04/30/snap-judgements-patriots-select-mac-jones-15th-overall/

Round 2, Pick 38: Christian Barmore, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

The Nick Saban-Bill Belichick connection comes through for this pick, as the Patriots trade up to get an absolute steal in Barmore. Barmore is the best DT prospect in this draft and can stuff the run and get after the quarterback, he somehow fell to the second round and the Patriots can use this giant man(6’5, 311 lb.) to plug up a leaky run defense.

Round 3, Pick 96: Ronnie Perkins, Edge Rusher, Oklahoma

This could very well be the steal of the draft, Perkins who is one of the better edge rushers in this draft and a top 50 prospect, falls to pick 96. Many were upset that they didn’t draft a receiver here, but make no mistake, Perkins was the best player available and he can revitalize the pass rush. He is a powerful pass rusher who plays angry, bowls over blockers, and can get after the quarterback.

Round 4, Pick 120: Rhamondre Stevenson, Runningback, Oklahoma

The Patriots snag another Oklahoma Sooner in the bruising back, Rhamondre Stevenson. He’s 6’0 247 lbs. and bowls through tacklers like pylons with a 4.6 40 time, he’s the power back that New England hasn’t has since LeGarrette Blount. This may have broader implications, as it means that Sony Michel and James White will likely be allowed to walk after this season.

Round 5, Pick 177: Cameron McGrone, Linebacker, Michigan

The Patriots add to their collection of Michigan defenders (Uche and Winovich) with McGrone. Another late round gem, he is an aggressive, sideline to sideline, type of linebacker and a sure tackler in the open field. What really makes him valuable is his ability to blitz and stuff running plays, as is isn’t afraid of jumping into the fray to make a tackle.

Round 6, Pick 188: Joshua Bledsoe, Safety, Missouri

Bledsoe has Bill Belichick’s favorite attribute, versatility. He can play either Safety spot, be a special teamer, drop down in the slot, or play linebacker on some plays. He is another aggressive player and has a high motor, he always delivers big hits and can be a swiss army knife on defense, kind of like Adrian Phillips currently.

Round 6, Pick 197: William Sherman, Offensive Lineman, Colorado

Sherman is another versatile player for the offensive line. He has experience on the left side and the right side of the offensive line and can play guard or tackle, he can be a good swing backup player and could be special with some good coaching

Round 7, Pick 242: Tre Nixon, Wide Receiver, UCF

Limited to 4 games last season with a broken collarbone, Nixon is very raw, but dripping with potential. He’s speedy, boasting a 40 time of 4.4 and the 3 cone drill time of 6.81. He can climb the ladder to win jump balls and isn’t afraid of contact, he’s a long shot to make the roster as a 7th round pick, but he could very well give N’Keal Harry and Isaiah Zuber a run for their money.

Patriots draft final grade: A

The Pats knocked it out of the park in terms of talent and this draft certainly passes the eye test as far as players go. I wouldn’t be shocked if everyone drafted actually makes the roster, this draft solidifies the roster overhaul and the Patriots could be very dangerous if these players develop. As of now, we’re on to training camp.

SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Patriots Select Mac Jones 15th Overall

The 1st round of the NFL Draft has come and gone and the Patriots (contrary to the swirling rumors) stayed put at 15 and drafted Alabama quarterback, Mac Jones, 15th overall. Right of the bat, this is a perfect fit for New England and they didn’t have to trade a future first rounder to get him, he just fell right in their lap, which is nice since he could have gone as early as 3rd overall.

When looking at him, there is a lot to like. For example, Jones comes from University of Alabama, they pump out stars every year and their pro-style game planning puts Jones another step further to being NFL ready. Jones is a natural leader and a winner, who led Alabama to a national championship last season. He’s a safe player who can come in and be a fine game manager right away, but with the proper coaching, can be something special. There are some concerns about his mobility and ability to scramble, but the Patriots have had 20 years of success with an unathletic quarterback, so take that with a grain of salt. What is really great about Jones is his enthusiasm to be a Patriot, he has confirmed that this was where he wanted to go all along and he’s ready to get to work. Let the quarterback competition begin…

(The rest of the drafted prospects will be covered together in a Patriots draft recap article)

Patriots Draft Targets

The NFL draft draws closer and the Patriots have an unusually high pick (pick 15) and they can go in any direction. They have been projected to trade up, trade back, and stay where they are. So who are some (realistic targets) for the Patriots if they stay at 15? Who are some good 2nd-7th round picks that they can grab? Only Bill Belichick knows for sure, but here are some guys that I like. To help me with the prospect picks is my friend and a draft fanatic, Mike Ciccketti.

1st round prospect #1: Mac Jones, QB, Alabama

Comparison: Jimmy Garoppolo

Mike’s analysis: A safe pick and a game manager, with a high football IQ and great decision making coming from a pro-style offense. However, he isn’t very mobile and has an average arm and can panic against elite defensive lines.

1st round prospect #2: Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama

Comparison: Tyreek Hill

Mike’s analysis: Another Alabama prospect, Waddle has elite speed and experience as an outside receiver and in the slot. He isn’t afraid of contact and will give everything to make the catch and sure hands. Waddle is smaller and cannot block downfield and he also has trouble slowing down on intermediate routes.

1st round prospect: #3 Micah Parsons, LB, Penn St.

Comparison: Myles Jack

Mike’s analysis: Parsons is an efficient tackler with a wide tackle radius and has a very high motor with high effort. He’s great at sniffing out the run and is speedy for his size. he’s a leader and plays by example as well. In order to become even more well rounded he must improve his pass coverage.

1st round prospect #4: Jaelan Phillips, EDGE, Miami

Comparison: Maxx Crosby

Mike’s analysis: He’s extremely effective as a 4-3 defensive end and has the versatility to be an outside linebacker. He is a larger rusher, but has tremendous speed and flexibility and has a high football IQ to pair with a high motor. His biggest weakness is his injuries and he may fall to round to the 2nd round because of it.

1st round prospect #5: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Comparison: Justin Jefferson

Mike’s analysis: He has a long catch radius and can quickly and easily secure the ball from anywhere. His route running is okay and his speed keeps defenses honest. He’s inexperienced in run blocking and below average ball tracking skills on deep throws too.

Steal prospect #1: Kellen Mond, QB, Texas A&M

Comparison: Josh Dobbs

Mike’s analysis: A good pro-style, project quarterback who can be dangerous if developed properly (Belichick loves a project) with a decent arm and good mobility. He has a tendency to make questionable throws downfield and hopes his receivers will bail him out.

Steal prospect #2; Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida St.

Comparison: Mackensie Alexander

Mike’s analysis: He can hold own in man coverage and is a sure tackler despite his size. He’s a keen run defender and has the versatility to play in the slot. However he is extremely inconsistent in zone coverage and can be slow to track the ball.

Steal prospect #3: Dyami Brown, WR, North carolina

Comparison: Paul Richardson

Mike’s analysis: An excellent vertical route runner and creates separation easily. can make route adjustments on the fly and is deadly after the catch. Unfortunately, he may struggle to expand his route tree at the NFL level and he needs more experience running different routes.

Steal prospect #4: Khyiris Tonga, DT, BYU

Comparison: Leki Fotu

Mike’s analysis: He has a giant build and reacts quickly in the run game. Able to push the pocket and pancakes lineman with ease. He struggles to shed blocks and has few push rush moves and his weight limits his mobility and has trouble against giant offensive lineman as well.

Steal prospect #5: Jaret Patterson, RB, Buffalo

Comparison: Devonta Freeman

Mike’s analysis: He doesn’t waste time behind the line and has good vision for his size. He has good balance and can run through defenders. His speed is below average and his acceleration leaves something to be desired.

The draft is 4/29/21 and I can’t wait to see who we draft, we’ll just have to wait with bated breath until then. Who will the Pats select?

A big thank you to Mike Ciccketti for helping me this this.

Julian Edelman RELEASED

It’s a sad day for Pats fan everywhere, as the team released veteran receiver, Julian Edelman. His contract was terminated after he failed a physical with the team. Sadly, this wasn’t entirely unexpected, he’s 34 and he has received many surgeries lately, this was probably the best option for him. Despite the rumors, no he probably isn’t going to Tampa Bay (sorry Brady) and this is likely a precursor for retirement.

We will all miss Jules

Happy trails to the Super Bowl MVP, wherever he goes I will support him. He leaves New England with 6,822 yards, 36 touchdowns, 3 super bowl championships, and 1 Super Bowl MVP.

Let’s get a few things straight about the Patriots…

People are getting false information left a right about the Patriots, whether it’s Tom Brady’s and Bruce Arians’ comments, Robert Kraft’s interview, or LaVar Arrington’s bold takes. Because the general public is getting so many things wrong about the Patriots, let’s set some things straight.

1.Let’s address Robert Kraft’s interview, specifically the draft part. No, I don’t think he took any shots at Belichick, that’s what sports media wants you to believe. We do need to get better at drafting, but too much blame is placed upon Belichick, this also falls upon former director of player personnel and de facto GM, Nick Caserio. Without him I would expect the Patriots draft classes to improve significantly and not to mention that Belichick is opening his inner circle to trust more people, so this should get everyone to stop whining about his drafting ability (he did draft Brady after all.)

2. There is a notion that Brady was kicked out of New England, this is not true, any football fan who believes that should not be allowed to watch football again for believing something so profoundly idiotic. I will only say this once, Tom Brady left on his own accord, the Pats wanted him back, he just didn’t want to be there. Then everyone says that we “refused” to get him weapons, we got him Josh Gordon, Antonio Brown, and N’Keal Harry, it’s not our fault they didn’t work, they tried, but Brown had false allegations against him, Gordon relapsed and Harry couldn’t stay healthy.

3. Brady’s comments about New England were not meant to be insults, so stop trying to twist things around. Bruce Arians on the other hand, did take shots at the Patriots way and criticized Coach Belichick. Arians has no right to throw stones, he will never be half the coach that Belichick is and Arians should respect his superiors. 6 rings are greater than 1 ring, just saying.

Arians was carried by Brady, change my mind.

4. Finally, NFL personality and former player LaVar Arrington said that Belichick’s seat is starting to get “warm”… no. I’m not going to go on about his take as it is ridiculous, but if you think Bill Belichick is on the hot seat, please seek help.

His takes are simply the worst

Hopefully you have realized the truth and have seen that the Patriots are not a the big bad organization that everyone thinks. Please do not believe what the ESPN personalities say and ask a real Pats fan.

Some More Patriots News and Musings

The Patriots are still generating some news and as the exciting parts of free agency winding down, let’s see what they’ve been up to.

Signing #13: LaRoy Reynolds

Reynolds is a very low risk signing and mostly a special teams player, he was signed to a 1 year deal. The Patriots love their special teams unit and he was a very solid pickup for them.

In other news, Stephon Gilmore has told the Patriots that he open to a contract extension where his cap hit would be decreased. I love this move, as I am a huge Gilmore fan and I never wanted to see him go. If they can work out an extension, it would keep the secondary dangerous.

Also, we’ll end on this note, don’t be shocked if the offense is good next season. Keep sleeping on the Pats… but I can give you 4 reasons why the offense will be dangerous again.

Even More Patriots Free Agency News

The Patriots aren’t done yet and they are still active in a few markets. But there is still news to break down, specifically, a very big resigning. Contrary to what the football world thought would happen, center, David Andrews has resigned with the Patriots, to a bargain contract of 4 years worth up to $19 million. That’s a steal for one of the top centers in the league. Andrews expressed a desire to return, but he also said that he refused to be “lowballed” and opted to test free agency. Apparently, the Dolphins were the only real threat to Andrews’ return to New England and Andrews rejected more money to come play in New England, thus throwing a wrench into Miami’s half-baked plan to sign former Patriots and to try to be successful.

The Patriots are also active in the running back and quarterback markets, being linked to Leonard Fournette and Marcus Mariota. They were interested in Fournette before he signed with Tampa and rumor is that Marcus Mariota may be released, so we will just have to wait for what Bill Belichick has planned. But as far as other signings go…

Signing #10 Kyle Van Noy

Well, well, well, another former Patriot comes back after being overpaid and then released. I really wanted Kyle Van Noy back, but Miami grossly overpaid him and he has been a cap casualty, now he has returned on a 2 year, $12 million deal. I welcome him back but many Pats fans aren’t too thrilled (after he stomped on Cam Newton’s leg in week 1), let’s see what happens.

Signing #11 Montravius Adams

Adams isn’t flashy or well known, but he is a big run stuffer who clogged running lanes for Green Bay. He signed a cheap 1 year, $2.5 million deal and can be a good depth piece on the D-line.

Signing #12 Raekwon McMillan

McMillan signed a one year deal to be another depth piece, but he is an important one. He can be the speedy, sideline to sideline tackler that New England has lacked. A very underrated, low risk, high reward pickup.

Finally, on a sadder note, veteran Patriots safety Patrick Chung (33 years old) retired after 11 seasons in the NFL. He was a second round draft pick by the Patriots in 2009 who also spent a season with the Eagles before returning to New England. Chung was a leader in the Pats locker room and a force to be reckoned with on the field, as a big hitter and tackler. Chung will finish his career with 778 total tackles, 57 passes broken up, 11 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries, as well as 3 super bowl wins. Happy retirement Patrick Chung, we will miss you.

More Patriots Free Agency Moves, Losses and Gains

The Patriots are still busy in free agency and there is more news regarding the Patriots.

First, we must address the losses that they have suffered. They are doomed to lose both Joe Thuney and David Andrews in free agency, with Joe Thuney signing a 5 year, $80 million deal with the Chiefs and Andrews has reportedly told the Patriots that he will not return. Andrews hurts most fans, he was the centerpiece to that offensive line and he will be missed. In other news, defensive back, Terrence Brooks, signings a 1 year deal with the Texans and Defensive lineman, Adam Butler, signs a 2 year deal with the Dolphins. Worse yet, it is becoming clear that James White will not return as he will probably sign with Tampa (the most popular rumor).

In other news, the Patriots resigned special teamer Justin Bethel and defensive linemen, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Carl Davis. There are other players that are still out there, like Rex Burkhead and Lawrence Guy, but New England will looks elsewhere to fill those holes. But they did make some free agent signings…

Signing #8: Hunter Henry

The Patriots grab another tight end in Hunter Henry. Henry is a solid tight end and the one of the better ones available, this confuses some as they already signed Jonnu Smith, but it is clear to Pats fans that Belichick wants to bring back the 2 tight end set. The 1-2 punch of Smith and Henry would be similar to New England tight end duo of Gronkowski and Hernandez. Henry was given a contract of 3 years, $37.5 million, with $25 million guaranteed.

Signing #9: Ted Karras

The Patriots bring back a familiar face in Ted Karras, for a cheap, 1 year deal, worth $4 million. This is the David Andrews replacement and Karras is a great fit, seeing as he knows the system.

In other news, the Patriots placed a second round tender on restricted free agent, JC Jackson. This is a confusing move, as a first round tender would be far better than a second rounder, but so long as he is resigned, it doesn’t matter.

Finally, the Patriots have not ruled out adding another quarterback. There are growing rumors that Deshaun Watson will be traded to New England and word is that he has added the Patriots to his list of preferred destinations. It is unlikely, but after this offseason, I wouldn’t put it past Belichick. As this offseason moves along, who knows what they’ll do next?

SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Patriots Open Free Agency With a Bang

Oh my goodness, look at all those signings! The Patriots just upended some narratives about their habits in free agency, usually they’re very under the radar and don’t make any splashes, but this year is very different. The legal tampering period started today, which marks the start of free agency, with all contracts become final on March 17th and the Patriots went on an insane shopping spree which landed them 7 free agents, yes you read that correctly, 7 free agents were signed by the Patriots on day one. Let’s see who they got and boy they got some nice players…

Signing #1: Jonnu Smith

The Pats start out the very beginning with a bang by snagging the top free agent tight end this year with Jonnu Smith from the Titans. Everyone knows that tight end was a dire need for New England and Belichick delivered with a great red zone threat and sure blocker. Smith caught a career high 8 touchdowns last season and he was rewarded handsomely with a 4 year, $50 million contract, with $31 million guaranteed.

Signing #2: Davon Godchaux

This is a truly underrated signing, as the Patriots steal Miami’s big run stuffer in Davon Godchaux. Godchaux is great at sniffing out running lanes and is a great tackler and while he missed most of 2020 season with an injury, he is ready to come back with a vengeance. He received a 2 year, $16 million deal, with $9 million guaranteed.

Signing #3: Matthew Judon

This is another big one, the Patriots signed one of the best pass rushers in free agency in Matthew Judon. Judon was one of the best players on a fierce Baltimore defense, tallying 6 sacks in a crowded front seven. Judon is a good player who can beat offensive lineman and get after the quarterback and he fetched a juicy deal from the Pats, a 4 year $56 million deal, with $32 million guaranteed.

Signing #4: Jalen Mills

This was a surprising sign, but a welcome addition to the secondary. Jalen Mills was a standout on a poor Eagles defense, racking up 74 tackles and an interception. He’s another tackler with good speed and his versatility to play corner or safety is very impressive. This got Mills a 4 year, $24 million deal, with $9 million guaranteed.

Signing #5: Nelson Agholor

The Patriots give Cam Newton a new weapon to play with in the veteran receiver, Nelson Agholor. Agholor has long been ridiculed for being unreliable and having janky hands and being prone to drops. He overcame that narrative last season with 896 yards and 8 touchdowns for the Raiders last year, he looks to be turning a corner and he got a nice 2 year, $26 million deal.

Signing #6: Kendrick Bourne

The Patriots decided to double down on a free agent receiver, so they grabbed the elusive speedster, Kendrick Bourne from the 49ers. Bourne was a key contributor in an injury plagued 49ers offense and he showed much potential as a nice piece in any offense. This potential was rewarded with a 3 year, $22.5 million deal.

Signing #7: Henry Anderson

Henry Anderson saw a decrease in playing time last season, but he still put up 42 tackles and was a nice tackler in the middle of the Jets’ D-line. He was a cap casualty and was promptly scooped up by New England on a low risk, 2 year, $7 million deal.

7 free agents on day one. Incredible work by Bill Belichick. Now let’s end this on a tweet from Michael Lombardi about the Patriots, he says, “The Pats will be busy the next few days–and will have a new team by the end of the week.”

I can’t wait for what’s next!!!

SNAP JUDGEMENTS: Running it back with Cam Newton

The Patriots have officially resigned Cam Newton to 1 year, $14 million deal. The deal is laden with incentives and not much is guaranteed, with $6 million being tied to honors alone. The Patriots are excited for Newton’s return and believe that he has a “fair chance this time”, seeing has he knows the playbook, the personnel, and now has a full offseason, and already is a welcome presence in the locker room. So far, it looks like the fan base is split on this, with one side being happy to have him back and the other side, who already is writing off next season.

I happen to have 2 experts who are well versed in Patriots football to give their 2 cents:

Ben Pope from Oracle Sports Show, likes the deal. He views it as very low risk with a good reward and he thinks Newton will be fine so long as he has weapons. Ben also wouldn’t rule out drafting a quarterback to sit behind Newton to develop.

CD Caraballo, owner of the Pats.365 Instagram page, is a huge supporter of Cam Newton. He expressed that you can’t judge him based off one season with so much going against him, like a new team, no weapons, battling COVID, and no preseason/no real offseason. This year he has help and he says it’s time to run it back.

It has been said that New England hasn’t ruled out bringing in another quarterback to develop and ideally this would likely be done through the draft. Personally, I wouldn’t trade up for a quarterback just to sit him on the bench, so I’d use a day 2 pick on one, someone like Kellen Mond or Kyle Trask. But there are 2 quarterbacks linked to the Patriots, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Alabama’s Mac Jones. Many believe that the Patriots will select Jones at 15 if he falls to them but there’s no way to tell. There are also rumors of the Patriots trading up for a quarterback (many speculate Trey Lance), but I find it unlikely. I would roll with Cam and use a day 2 or early day 3 pick on a QB, but only time will tell, but until then… welcome back Cam!!!