Last season, the Patriots had one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Bill Belichick wasn’t about to let that trend continue – he added a multitude of talent up front, and now has used two of his first three draft picks on front seven players.
After taking Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore 38th overall, the Patriots used their next pick to take linebacker Ronnie Perkins out of Oklahoma 96th overall. This was the compensation pick the team received for losing Tom Brady in free agency.
Perkins was a highly productive player in his time with the Sooners. As a three-year starter he recorded 32 tackles for loss and 16.5 sacks in 32 career games, including 5.5 sacks in six games in 2020. He missed the first half of the season due to a drug suspension. Many expected Perkins to go much earlier in the draft, with some projecting him as high as the end of the first round.
A defensive end in college, Perkins will likely move to outside linebacker in the Patriots’ 3-4 defense. He’s yet another addition to a room that has already seen Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy added this offseason.
At 6-foot-2, 253 pounds, Perkins plays shot out of a cannon. He’s a high-motor player with a tremendous first step, which is made even more dangerous by his high-level football IQ and play recognition ability. If he can sure up his technique in New England, he has a chance to be a three-down edge setter and pass rusher in the NFL.
This is just the second time the Patriots have drafted an Oklahoma player during Bill Belichick’s tenure. Geneo Grissom was the first – he went 97th overall in 2015.
With Perkins now in the fold, the Patriots turn their attention to the third and final day of the NFL Draft. They’re currently scheduled to make five selections in rounds four through seven, starting with the 120th overall pick.
For more NFL Draft coverage check out the Patriots Draft Hub
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.