Patriots DT Christian Barmore may be the best rookie pass rusher
By Mike Luciano
The New England Patriots have been under fire recently for some substandard drafting over the last few seasons, but things are starting to turn around in 2021. On top of the fact Mac Jones looks like a potential franchise quarterback, defensive tackle Christian Barmore has made an instant impact.
Due to some maturity concerns and some fretting over his ability to stop the run at the NFL level, a player widely regarded as the best defensive tackle in this class slipped out of the first round, which put Bill Belichick in a position to abandon some of his picks to move up for him.
Belichick is not just going to hand rookies snaps because of their draft position. Nevertheless, Barmore has muscled his way into the defensive line rotation because what he’s been able to do this season from a pass rush point of view already has helped him outperform his draft spot.
Barmore ended last week second in pressures by a rookie, with Ravens stud Odafe Oweh slightly ahead of him and Cowboys phenom Micah Parsons right behind him. The fact that Barmore is outpacing rookies like Kwity Paye, Jaelan Phillips, and Gregory Rousseau as a defensive tackle speaks to his quality.
Christian Barmore is thriving for the New England Patriots.
Barmore might only have 0.5 sacks to his name, but using sacks to measure pass rush skill is starting to fall out of favor in the name of pressures. The fact that Barmore can generate this type of duress against opposing quarterbacks as an interior tackle at the same rate that some of the top edge rushers is sensational.
Belichick has given Barmore a ton of praise for his willingness to come in early and stay late in the name of improving his game. If anyone had concerns about his work ethic, Barmore appears to have completely squashed them thanks to his tireless desire to improve.
The next step in Barmore’s development will be making improvements as a run defender. While he isn’t necessarily deficient in this area, it’s not as refined as his pass rush skills. Luckily, he landed in a Patriots system that churns out top defensive linemen routinely.
Thanks to the rest of the NFL being a bit hesitant about his character issues (ha!), the Patriots were able to take a potential top-20 talent much later than he should’ve been drafted. Now that Belichick is working his developmental magic on him, the former Alabama star has been sent on a clearly-defined path to stardom.