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2021 Redo: New Grade for Patriots Draft?

The New England Patriots' haul in the 2021 Draft looks even better one year later.

"Bill Belichick can't draft."

The way-too-common social media narrative has continued to plague the Hall-of-Fame head coach in recent seasons. regardless of a career that includes eight Super Bowl wins.

In a recent article, Pro Football Focus regraded the New England Patriots' haul from the 2021 NFL Draft and once again demonstrated the unnecessary dramatism of this lazy narrative.

The Patriots' 2021 draft class:

Round 1 (15): Mac Jones, Quarterback, Alabama

Round 2 (38): Christian Barmore, Defensive Tackle, Alabama

Round 3 (96): Ronnie Perkins, Defensive End, Oklahoma

Round 3 (120): Rhamondre Stevenson, Running Back, Oklahoma

Round 5 Pick 177: Cameron McGrone, Linebacker, Michigan

Round 6 Pick 188: Joshua Bledsoe, Safety, Missouri

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Round 6 Pick 197: William Sherman, Tackle, Colorado

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

Mac Jones
Christian Barmore
ronnie-perkins

Initially, after the 2021 NFL Draft, PFF gave the class an A+. And after one year, the PFF team is once again giving the draft class an A+.

In the words of Borat, this draft has been a 'great success.'

While this may have seemed slightly lofty at the time, it checked out. In longtime Director of Football Research Ernie Adams' last draft for the team, New England was able to secure what it believed was a franchise quarterback in Jones while bolstering other positions of need such as defensive line, edge, linebacker, and running back. 

Jones has obviously shown a lot of promise as a rookie, posting PFF's highest grade among rookie quarterbacks at 80.4. He passed for 3801 yards and 22 touchdowns at a 67.6 percent completion rate, flashing quick decision-making with a surprisingly effective arm.

Along the interior defensive line, the Patriots may have found a future all-pro talent in Barmore. He registered 48 pressures as a rookie, which is the most from a rookie defensive tackle since San Francisco 49ers rookie DeForest Buckner's 2016 season.

Stevenson has been another fantastic selection for the Patriots. The young running back made an immediate impression in the 2021 NFL preseason when he rushed for a 91-yard touchdown against the Washington Football Team in a three-touchdown effort. At points, Stevenson looked unstoppable against some of the best defenses in the NFL. Alongside Damien Harris, Stevenson has transformed New England's ground attack into one of the most formidable in the league.

The cherry on top of this draft class is that Perkins, arguably one of the best sleeper selections in the 2021 draft, has not even seen the field yet. Perkins was a potential first-round talent that fell due to "character concerns" (ie he smoked weed once in college). His intensity could provide a much-needed spark to the Patriots' defensive line.

Belichick
Ernie Adams
Ronnie Perkins

With all the potential in the world surrounding the 2021 New England draftees, it's clear that Belichick still has the magic touch. Though his 2022 draft has gotten much more scrutiny, it's worth keeping in mind that he is still the greatest head coach the sport has ever seen for a reason -- eight of them, actually.