Coming off a nonexistent rookie season, the New England Patriots' Ronnie Perkins is trying to finally earn a regular spot in the front-seven rotation. Regrettably, he spent most of the year on the gameday inactive list before being placed on IR at the end of the season.
Nevertheless, the 2021 third-round pick provides something the Patriots need in speed and athleticism. He’ll benefit from the behind-the-scenes work he got ‘redshirting’ in 2021, and will be a candidate to fill the secondary pass rusher role the Patriots should be looking to improve on heading into 2022.
Perkins didn’t see the field for the Patriots in his first NFL season, getting the stereotypical rookie redshirt year behind what was once considered to be a deep outside linebacker group.
Perkins was an instant impact player from his first game after joining the Sooners. He played in 14 games as a true freshman in 2018 and made eight tackles for loss and five quarterback sacks. He played in 12 games in 2019 and upped his numbers to 13.5 TFLs and six sacks. And in 2020, despite playing in just six games, Perkins became a constant disruptor who compiled 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
So what can we expect from Perkins in 2022? Can he earn some playing time?
Assistant coach Steve Belichick certainly had some praise for the young linebacker/end last season when the media asked him about Perkins.
"He's doing great,'' the coach said. "He does everything that we ask him to do. I'm happy that he's on our team, for sure."
While he was a star defensive end in college, the Patriots are seemingly looking to cast him in the role of outside linebacker rather than a traditional edge rusher. The best-case scenario for Perkins is that he stays healthy in 2022, and takes advantage of any opportunity he gets.