A new Bledsoe is headed to Foxboro.
The New England Patriots selected Missouri safety Joshuah Bledsoe in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft (No. 188 overall).
Bledsoe led Missouri in passes defended in each of the last two seasons, tallying 10 in 2019 and seven (with one interception) in 2020. He measured in at 5-foot-11, 204 pounds at his pro day but did not test due to a wrist injury.
The 22-year-old was a versatile defender for the Tigers, splitting time between free safety, strong safety and slot defender. He primarily played in the slot last season, logging 421 snaps there, 129 in the box and 19 as a deep safety, according to Pro Football Focus.
Nearly every defensive back on the Patriots’ roster has the ability to play multiple positions, including safeties Devin McCourty, Kyle Dugger and Adrian Phillips.
Despite his team-leading PBU total, Bledsoe posted subpar coverage stats in 2020, allowing a passer rating against of 111.8 that ranked tied for 261st in the FBS, per PFF.
“Bledsoe is an amped up competitor with the play speed to make stops at the line of scrimmage or race with receivers to the catch point,” The Athletic’s Dane Brugler wrote in his 2021 draft guide. “However, he doesn’t have the high-end physical skills to make up for mistakes. Overall, Bledsoe needs to play with more consistent anticipation and discipline, but he has the mentality of a linebacker and the smooth movement skills to stay attached to routes. He projects as a nickel safety in the NFL.”
PFF is lower on Bledsoe, writing that he “doesn’t offer much as a prospect” with his “average physical tools by NFL standards and uninspiring on-field performance.”
Here were New England’s first five selections in this year’s draft:
First round, 15th overall: QB Mac Jones, Alabama
Second round, 38th overall: DT Christian Barmore, Alabama
Third round, 96th overall: EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
Fourth round, 120th overall: RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma
Fifth round, 177th overall: LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan