In years past, the New England Patriots have never shied away from moving up and down the board during the NFL Draft. This year’s college player selection meeting was different, though, as the Patriots made only one trade during the entire three-day event.
That trade saw them send two fourth-round selections to the Cincinnati Bengals in order to jump from the 46th to the 38th spot in the second round. The target of that move was Alabama’s Christian Barmore — a borderline first-rounder and the first defensive tackle to come off the board in the 2021 draft.
While there is not telling how Barmore will adapt to his new team, his position coach is feeling good about what the youngster has brought to the equation so far.
“Coming in rookie minicamp and now into the Phase 2/Phase 3 OTAs it’s been awesome,” Patriots defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington said during a recent media conference call.
“He’s done a good job, came in with his head down, trying to learn, trying to absorb all the information. He’s trying to catch up to where our veteran players are and learn our defense as much as possible, trying to establish himself here. He’s been doing a good job for us, doing everything that we’re asking him to do.”
Despite having just 24 in-game appearances on his college résumé, Barmore established himself as a difference maker for the Crimson Tide. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound interior D-lineman registered eight sacks for the national champions last year, and was named second-team All-American.
With his stock high, the redshirt sophomore elected to try his luck in the NFL instead of returning to Tuscaloosa for up to two more seasons. The plan paid off as Barmore heard his name called early on Day 2 of the draft — joining a Patriots front seven that was rebuilt during the offseason.
Now in New England, the rookie has already left an early impression on his coach.
“When he walks through the door, you’re going to know who he is. Just the way how big he is, how long he is, how tall he is,” Covington said. “Now, for us, as we get him into our program, it’s all about teaching him the way we do our fundamentals and technique, and the way how we do things around here. You still get a young kid that doesn’t have much experience playing football, and, so, the sky’s the limit for him. He’s going to do well for us.”
Barmore’s eventual role along the Patriots’ defensive line has yet to be determined. That said, even as a rookie he is projected to get his fair share of snaps in a rotation that will also feature fellow roster locks Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Henry Anderson and Deatrich Wise Jr.
With Byron Cowart, Montravius Adams, Carl Davis, Akeem Spence, Nick Thurman and Bill Murray competing for practice and playing time as well, Barmore will have to get up to speed early. Listening to Covington, however, it seems that there is little doubt inside the building that the second-rounder is going to do just that.