The New England Patriots have made three picks through the first three rounds of the 2021 NFL Draft, and they have yet to have met skepticism from league analysts.
The Patriots’ third pick of the weekend thus far, Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins, prompted more glowing reviews.
ESPN analyst Louis Riddick was among those loading on the praise for head coach and general manager Bill Belichick and the Patriots after getting Perkins to fall to them late in the third round at No. 96 overall.
“Look, he plays nasty,” Riddick said on the ESPN broadcast immediately after the pick was made. “This is a New England Patriot through and through. Scheme versatility — can play with his hand down in a four-man line, you run an odd front, you run a 3-4, he can stand up and play a 3-4 outside backer like Matt Judon, like Dont’a Hightower.
“… He can get after it now,” Riddick continued. “This is a New England Patriot right there, who is going to buy into that culture with the way he plays. I’m telling tell you Bill (Belichick) is loading up. He’s loading up. He’s made some great acquisitions with guys who have the right kind of playing personality.”
Perkins may have fallen down draft boards due to the fact he was suspended five games in college for a failed drug test, according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler. And while it may have created some character concerns for some teams, Belichick expressed during Friday night’s video conference how the Patriots did their due diligence and feel good with the player.
Perkins is excited about the opportunity, as well.
The Patriots certainly bolstered their defensive front Friday by trading up for Christian Barmore, the Alabama defensive tackle, and by selecting Perkins later on.
New England, you may have heard, selected Alabama quarterback Mac Jones with the 15th pick in the first round Thursday.