Patriots Snagged ‘Major Draft Steal’ in ‘Silent Assassin’

Getty Ronnie Perkins

The New England Patriots have added a ton of talent on the defensive end, and one of the most promising additions is Oklahoma edge defender Ronnie Perkins.

New England somehow snagged the 21-year-old in the third round. Many evaluators are calling Perkins one of the biggest steals in the NFL Draft as some had placed a first-round grade on the former Sooners star.

Boston.com’s Khari Thompson says Perkins could be “a major steal.’ He also wrote:

The scouting reports on Perkins don’t speak glowingly of his raw athleticism, and he doesn’t have elite size (standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing 253 pounds) or strength for an edge player. But the production and effort he puts on film show more than enough disruptive potential to work with. If you’re going to play outside in a defensive front, your first responsibility is to set the edge in the run game. And though Perkins doesn’t have the long arms and violent punch evaluators look for in a prototypical edge defender, he still earned elite marks from Pro Football Focus as a run defender in 2020.

Perkins has already taken measures to endear himself to Patriots Nation. He’s engaged with fans on social media and even talked about his fondness for former Patriots pass rusher Willie McGinest, and current stars Dont’a Hightower and Stephon Gilmore, per Bernd Buchmasser of Pat’s Pulpit.

Perkins called Gilmore “a silent assassin” who “lets his play do the talking.” Perkins says that’s what he wants to be as well.


Perkins’ College Production

One of the biggest knocks on Perkins is his lack of action in 2020. He failed a drug test at the end of his sophomore season in 2019, and the punishment bled over into his junior campaign.

Because of that, Perkins played in just six games. However, he made quite an impact in a limited amount of time. Perkins had 5.5 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. Perkins had 16.5 sacks in 32 games for his college career, but he often flashed the ability to be an elite presence off the edge.

If it is possible to take his game to the next level, it would appear the Patriots would be an ideal team for him to add the requisite layers.


The Patriots Have Extraordinary Depth in the Front Seven

Perkins won’t come into his rookie season with a ton of pressure to make an immediate impact. New England already has Matthew Judon, Kyle Van Noy, Josh Uche, and quite possibly Chase Winovich ahead of him on the depth chart.

Perkins will have to prove he’s capable of supplanting one or several of those guys just to get on the field–outside of special teams work.

When you also look at the inside linebacker position where New England has Hightower, Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon McMillan, Terez Hall, Ja’Whaun Bentley, and Montravius Adams, the Patriots have something they didn’t in 2020, and that’s depth on defense.

If Perkins can position himself to make an impact as a rookie, he could be a part of a memorable defense.

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