Patriots

Pro Football Focus' new 2021 NFL Mock Draft has Pats upgrading key position

Patriots

The weaknesses at several positions in the New England Patriots offense are getting a lot of attention in the lead up to the 2021 NFL Draft, and it's deserved.

Make no mistake about it: The Patriots need a lot of help on offense. Quarterback, wide receiver and tight end are among the positions that must be bolstered before next season.

The team's defense is in need of upgrades, too, and one area to address early in the draft is defensive line.

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This is where the Patriots go in the latest 2021 NFL Mock Draft published by Pro Football Focus, which has New England selecting Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore in the first round.

Here is PFF writer Austin Gayle's explanation for predicting Barmore to the Patriots with the No. 15 overall pick:

"Barmore's consistency at Alabama is reason to be concerned with him as a high-end prospect, but his performances in the Crimson Tide's bouts with Notre Dame and Ohio State in the College Football Playoff are some of the best we've seen from any defensive tackle in this class. Buying into the high end and continuing to develop Barmore (RS So.) at the next level is a worthwhile investment for the Pats at No. 15, especially knowing the lack of depth in the 2021 defensive tackle class."

The Patriots have lost several veteran defensive linemen in recent seasons, including Trey Flowers, Danny Shelton, Malcom Brown, Chris Long and Alan Branch.

New England also has not drafted many defensive linemen in recent years. They didn't select one in 2018 or 2020. The Pats drafted two in 2019 -- Chase Winovich in the third round and Byron Cowart in the fifth round.

 

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It makes sense to pursue a defensive lineman early in the 2021 draft. Barmore had a very good season for the Crimson Tide and helped them win the College Football Playoff National Championship Game over Ohio State in January. He tallied 27 total tackles with three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and six sacks for Alabama in 2020.

The Patriots could also target other defensive positions, such as cornerback, in Round 1. With so many different areas to address, the best move might just be to take the best player available at No. 15.