BOSTON (CBS) -- When the Patriots selected Mac Jones in the first round of this year's draft, the choice of a quarterback kind of overshadowed everything else that happened that weekend. The resulting attention on Jones and Cam Newton has continued all summer long.
Perhaps overlooked in the wake of that Jones pick was the selection of defensive tackle Christian Barmore in the second round. Bill Belichick jumped at the chance to trade up and pick Barmore, a teammate of Jones at Alabama.
Barmore was the top-rated defensive tackle available in the draft, and Pro Football Focus had him ranked as the 12th-best prospect overall. The Patriots got him at No. 38 overall.
Now that he has the entire preseason under his belt, Barmore is ready to begin his real NFL career. And he's got some people in his corner who believe he can do some great things.
Veteran edge rusher Matt Judon spoke to the media after Sunday's preseason win over the Giants, and he shared his excitement for what's to come from Barmore.
"Yeah, I think Barmore is going to be an amazing player in this league, just the physicality that he brings," Judon said. "When he starts to learn the game more -- and not saying that he doesn't [know the game], but, you know, it's a different level. The more reps he gets, the better he looks, and he starts to see stuff. He just has a natural feel to the game. I know he's young into football as well, so I think he's going to be another good player for a long time."
Given the position he plays, Barmore won't always show up on game broadcasts when he does his job. Yet if he occupies offensive linemen, plugs gaps, and gets a regular push into the backfield, the linebackers behind him certainly will notice and appreciate the work. The end result of a much-improved run defense -- the Patriots ranked 26th in rushing yards allowed per game and 20th in rushing yards allowed per attempt last year -- will be noticed by all.
That improvement won't hinge on one player, obviously -- especially a rookie. But the early indications from one of the Patriots' top picks this year are certainly positive.
for more features.