For all the criticism Bill Belichick has received for his recent draft history, the New England Patriots‘ de facto GM hit a grand slam with his 2021 class.
Mac Jones is clearly the star of the group.
Despite being the last quarterback selected in the first round, Jones has vastly outperformed his peers and figures to be the franchise’s signal caller of the future.
After a mistake-prone start, Rhamondre Stevenson has finally settled in. Even with Damien Harris back from injury, the fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma has (hopefully) earned a prominent role on the offense going forward.
Perhaps the biggest standout from the 2021 class, though, is Christian Barmore, who’s become an invaluable piece on the Patriots’ top-ranked defense. Seems like those pre-draft concerns over Barmore’s “resistance to coaching” were a bit overblown, no?
Speaking of coaching, Barmore has had the luxury of being lectured by two all-time greats in Belichick and Nick Saban. During his latest media session, the star rookie explained the biggest difference between the two longtime friends.
Patriots rookie DL Christian Barmore clearly has a close relationship with Bill Belichick.
Here’s Barmore’s full quote on the stark differences between Belichick and Saban.
Before we get to that, it’s worth noting that the Alabama product wasn’t pitting the coaches against each other or painting Saban in a negative light. He’s simply relishing the opportunity to play under Belichick.
"“I just love the work ethic, because every day we work, grinding. And every day, we’re just here to get better,” Barmore told reporters on Wednesday. “You know what I’m saying? They say coach Saban and coach Belichick are the same. It’s totally different. Here — it’s just more. I love it.“Coach Saban — it’s just, if he want to talk to you, he’ll come talk to you. Bill, he’ll come talk to you every day, especially if you need something.”"
Barmore continued to rave about Belichick’s ability to communicate with his players, especially ones of the first-year variety. Compared to Saban, who admittedly has a lot on his plate in Tuscaloosa in regard to coaching up inexperienced recruits, Belichick has clearly gone out of his way to ensure Barmore is comfortable in his system. As a result, you’re witnessing a dominant year from the 22-year-old.
On top of asserting himself as a must-start player, which is a milestone in an of itself given how rare that is for rookies under Belichick, Barmore has the numbers to back up a potential push for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Through 11 games, he’s compiled 26 tackles, six QB hits, 31 pressures — which is second on the team behind Matt Judon — 25 hurries and 15 run stops.
This won’t go down in the box score, but the attention Barmore commands in the trenches has also made his teammates’ jobs easier.
Even with countless hours of scouting, it’s tough for NFL teams to find a perfect fit in the draft, which, as we know, is a crap shoot. When it comes to Barmore and Belichick, though, these quotes prove they’re a match made in heaven.