New England Patriots

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JANUARY 15: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to the AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

The 2021 New England Patriots are gaining recognition among the end-of-season awards, specifically for delivering their most impactful rookie class in years.

Quarterback Mac Jones and defensive tackle Christian Barmore were officially named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team on Tuesday, after each of them produced at a high level compared to all first-year players. Jones had the most successful season of all rookie QBs, despite a loaded draft class with four others starting at least 10 games. He posted a 92.5 passer rating, while starting all 17 games for the Patriots. The Texans’ Davis Mills had the second-best rating among rookies with at least 10 starts, at 88.8.

Jones also became the first rookie quarterback to start every regular season game and also start a playoff game since Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson both did it in 2012.

Barmore, meanwhile, led all rookie interior defenders with 46 total tackles, and finished second only to the Cowboys’ Osa Odighizuwa with nine QB hits. He was one of only five rookie defensive tackles to play all 17 games.

Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson didn’t garner enough votes for selection to the PFWA All-Rookie team. The Steelers’ Najee Harris, who led all rookies (regardless of position) with 1,667 yards from scrimmage, was a lock. Denver’s Javonte Williams got the second All-Rookie spot.

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - JANUARY 09: Duke Johnson #28 of the Miami Dolphins escapes pressure from Christian Barmore #90 of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – JANUARY 09: Duke Johnson #28 of the Miami Dolphins escapes pressure from Christian Barmore #90 of the New England Patriots in the fourth quarter of the game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Ultimately, Stevenson didn’t have the volume of production to match Harris or Williams. But he did rush for 4.56 yards per carry, which was second only to the 49ers’ Elijah Mitchell (4.65) among all rookie backs with at least 100 carries.

    Jones and Barmore were also named to the Pro Football Focus All-Rookie Team. Harris was the lone choice at running back.

    The Patriots selected Jones with the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, then traded up to No. 38 in the second round to draft Barmore. Stevenson was actually the team’s fourth draft selection, at 120th overall out of Oklahoma. They selected outside linebacker Ronnie Perkins, also from the Sooners, a round earlier at 96th.

    Perkins couldn’t crack the active roster for a game in what was essentially a redshirt rookie season. There’s a good chance he sees the field for the first time in his career sometime in 2022.

  • Rookies in review

    BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JANUARY 15: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

    BUFFALO, NEW YORK – JANUARY 15: Mac Jones #10 of the New England Patriots looks to throw a pass against the Buffalo Bills during the fourth quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

    Jones, Barmore, and Stevenson made significant contributions to the Patriots in their rookie seasons. But the rest of the 2021 class shouldn’t be written off just yet.

    The Pats also drafted linebacker Cameron McGrone out of Michigan in the fifth round, knowing he would likely spend his rookie season on injured reserve. McGrone was a highly touted draft prospect whose draft stock fell after he suffered a torn ACL in Nov. 2020.

    Additionally, sixth-round defensive back Joshuah Bledsoe is under contract for three more years after spending most of his rookie season on the shelf. Seventh-round wide receiver Tre Nixon and undrafted kicker Quinn Nordin recently signed future contracts with the Patriots.

    We’ll cover each rookie from the Patriots’ class of 2021 in our own “Rookie Review” series. Read Alex Barth’s recap of Barmore’s season here.