Christian Barmore is checking plenty of boxes during his first training camp with the Patriots.
New England traded up to select Barmore with the 38th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The talented defensive lineman left Alabama with apparent off-field concerns, which reportedly fueled his descent down the draft board. He has no shortage of detractors.
But Barmore is a first-round talent, one who apparently put his best foot forward during OTAs and has enjoyed similar success during the early days of training camp. That said, the true test will come once he’s in pads.
“Christian’s a very talented player,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters Monday morning. “Just got a lot of physical skills. Size, strength, quickness, so forth. Obviously been in a good program. Been well-coached. Some of the things we’re doing are similar to what he’s done. There are some things that are a little bit different, but he’s made a lot of progress, but we’ll see how that goes when the pads come on and when the real bullets start flying.
“It’s hard to evaluate the offensive and defensive line without any kind of contact, which is essentially the way it’s been, so we’ll see how it goes for all of them when we get contact and blocking and the feet and blocks and pass rushing and pass protection and so forth, so we’ll see.”
Again, Barmore has a long way to go before he proves worthy of extended playing time on New England’s defense. Plus, the Patriots’ loaded depth chart will make it difficult for Barmore to carve out a consistent role, regardless of how good he looks in practice.
Still, so far, so good for a player who has the potential to be the future of New England’s interior defensive line.