Could Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have found a diamond in the rough late in the 2021 NFL Draft?
Joshuah Bledsoe, their sixth-round pick out of Missouri, will look to prove they did. The 22-year-old defensive back was a standout player for the Tigers and will look to make an impact sooner rather than later in Foxboro.
What should we know about Bledsoe before he takes his first snap in a Patriots uniform? Missouri associate head coach Charlie Harbison joined Phil Perry on a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast to break down Bledsoe's potential.
Harbison mentions Bledsoe succeeded against elite competition in the SEC last year, including multiple first-round selections.
"The receivers at 'Bama, [Jaylen] Waddle is a good example," Harbison said. "He had a matchup against him and the guy at Florida, [Kadarius] Toney. So those guys he went against week-to-week. It wasn't something that he had to always try to get up for a particular receiver."
Another attractive part of Bledsoe's game is his versatility. He's a safety with experience playing all over the field in Missouri's defense, and that's undoubtedly something Belichick values in his defensive backs.
"When we go 12 personnel, he's staying on the field as one of the overhang guys. So depending on the formation, depending on what was going on, he would play in that position," Harbison said. "And he could hold up. He's not one of the biggest, but he's strong, he's strong in the weight room. ...
"Josh played on special teams, he played on every defense we had. Josh also, even though he played a lot of man, he could play some zone as well. ... He's got the ability, he's got the smartness, he's got the toughness, and he's a communicator."
Also in the new episode: Phil Perry answers your questions in the Next Pats Mailbag.