Counting down the most important Patriots players heading into the 2022 NFL season.
Methodology: taking a concept from veteran NFL reporter Dave Dameshek, the most important Patriots series is like a giant game of Jenga. If we were to pull this player from New England’s lineup, who would cause the tower to fall completely or become unsteady the most?
Most Important Patriots: No. 4, DT Christian Barmore
Along with quarterback Mac Jones, second-year defensive tackle Christian Barmore headlines a 2021 rookie class that could alter the franchise’s direction for the better.
After a surprising fall out of the first round, the Patriots reaped the benefits by trading up to select Barmore with the 38th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
#FFIDP – Most total pressures (w/pressure rate) in a season by a rookie interior defensive lineman since 2006, per @PFF:
1. 2015, Leonard Williams – 52 (10.9%)
⭐️2. 2021, Christian Barmore – 48 (12.6%)⭐️
2. 2016, DeForest Buckner – 48 (9.7%)
4. 2014, Aaron Donald – 46 (10.3%) pic.twitter.com/gO1rI0a930
— Jon Macri (@PFF_Macri) March 23, 2022
Barmore posted the second-most quarterback pressures for a first-year defensive tackle since 2006 with 48, more than Aaron Donald in his rookie season (46). Plus, among the top four in that stat, Barmore had the highest pressure rate at 12.6 percent.
The Pats’ second-year DT uses excellent first-step explosiveness to gain ground on blockers and finishes with nuanced hand usage and a powerful upper body. His go-to moves are a push-pull method and slap/arm over finisher, allowing him to clear a path to the quarterback.
Barmore was at his best rushing the passer in his rookie season. But he also registered 21 run stops, flashing the upper-body power to play as a two-gapping IDL and transitioning his quick first step to penetrate gaps to make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
With the Patriots’ secondary likely taking a step back this season, Barmore’s continued emergence as an interior pass-rusher would go a long way in helping out the coverage players.
Furthermore, it became increasingly more difficult later in the season to take Barmore’s disruption and playmaking off the field last season, projecting as a full-time player in year two.
If the Alabama product continues to build on his rookie season, Barmore will have a strong case to make the Pro Bowl with multi-time Pro Bowler potential assuming good health in his career.
Although all eyes will be on quarterback Mac Jones’s improvements in his second season, Barmore has just as good of a chance to make the leap into stardom in year two.