Christian Barmore was a first-round talent entering the 2021 NFL Draft but slipped to the second round, where the New England Patriots traded up to No. 38 and selected the former Alabama star.
Barmore has made an impressive impact on the Patriots defense over the first seven games of his pro career. He was particularly effective in the Patriots' blowout win over the rival Jets in Week 7, disrupting New York's offense with his range and athleticism.
"I think Christian has done a good job of developing all phases of his game," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told reporters Monday. "He’s improved in the run game. He’s improved in the pass rush. He’s a versatile player that’s played a number of spots for us. Five technique. Three technique. He’s also played on the nose. That’s a lot of things that can happen to a defensive lineman. The different blocking schemes, different types of pass protections, different reads, and then you mix that in with multiple defensive calls and so forth. Quite a bit can be going on there, and I think he’s handled that well.
"Again, similar to the conversation we had on Mac [Jones], he’s improved all the way through. He’s been out there. He’s been durable. He’s continued to get snaps on the field daily, and he’s learned from those snaps, and he’s gotten better at the multiple things he’s been asked to do. If he keeps working hard and he continues to press on his fundamentals and his techniques, which are so critical to the position he plays, all the line positions, I’m sure he’ll continue to get better, and as he’s gained experience and knowledge, and, as I said, better fundamentals, he’ll continue to improve. I’m glad we have him. I think he’s made a lot of progress, and I think he’ll be a good player."
One area the Patriots defense needed to show improvement from last season was pressuring the opposing quarterback. The pass rush was weak in 2020. It's been better this year, and Barmore's 17 pressures and rookie-leading pass rush win percentage are two huge reasons for that success.
Barmore should play plenty of snaps in Week 8 when the Patriots travel to Los Angeles for an exciting matchup versus the Chargers and their high-powered offense led by star quarterback Justin Herbert.
Herbert is completing 65.4 percent of his passes for 1,771 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions through six games. If the Patriots are going to slow him down and beat the Chargers for the second consecutive season, the pass rush needs to pressure him early and often.
Barmore will be one of several players responsible for achieving that objective.