The Patriots surprisingly did not try to close the gap between their 50 pick hole on Friday, instead choosing to hang tight and pick at 96. New England selected defensive end Ronnie Perkins from Oklahoma.
There seems to be a bit of a log jam at the defensive end/EDGE position with the Patriots – who also have Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Chase Winovich, and Anfernee Jennings at the position.
CLNS Media’s Evan Lazar asked Perkins during his media availability about being flexible in the Patriots defense:
Didn't see a ton of Ronnie Perkins playing as a standup OLB, which is what he'll be with the #Patriots, so I asked him.
He said he has been practicing out of a two-point stance knowing he'd be in that role at the NFL level, even though that's not how he was used in games.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) May 1, 2021
Here is Lazar’s scouting report on Perkins from his 2021 draft prospect spreadsheet:
Heavy-handed and long armed DE/OLB prospect, jolts back blocker to soften the edge or beat blockers as run defender, flashes of good first-step explosiveness, was schemed for in run defense by opposing offenses as “read” man, one-gap penetrator as run defender, good range/lateral mobility, hand in the dirt or standup versatility, snatch or club-rip moves.
Perkins told reporters that, “in the long run, I definitely know the Patriots fans will love me, based on watching Patriots defense in the past.”
When asked about playing under Bill Belichick, Perkins said, “the opportunity to get coached by coach Belichick is the most mind blowing thing right now.”
New England has favored their front seven early in this draft after struggling to stop the run in 2020. The Patriots have five more picks in this years draft. They pick next at #120 tomorrow.