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By: Bernd Buchmasser
The third-year defensive tackle is playing the best football of his career.
Coming out of the 2021 NFL Draft, there was some optimism the New England Patriots might have been able to find cornerstone players both at quarterback and along their defensive line. But while there are serious questions now about Mac Jones’ ability to provide long-term stability at QB, the arrow keeps pointing up for Christian Barmore.
The third-year interior lineman is playing the best football of his career right now, and has become the most disruptive member along the Patriots’ front. His 26 pressures are tied for the team lead, and he has also shown massive improvements as a run defender recently.
Add the fact that he is still only 24 years old — meaning he is younger, for example, than Patriots rookie Keion White — and there still appears to be potential for improvement. But even at this relatively early stage of his career, Barmore has shown that he is well on his way to become a player worth building around.
As a consequence, Barmore is quickly shooting up the list of contract extension priorities for the Patriots. Besides safety Kyle Dugger and offensive lineman Michael Onwenu, there might not be another player on the team right in that sweet spot between proven and sustained production, and a trip to free agency on the horizon; the difference between Barmore and the other two, of course, is that his rookie deal still runs through 2024.
The Patriots therefore do have the luxury of time on their side, to a degree. However, if there is one player on the roster worthy of an early investment right now, it might be Barmore.
Seriously, when a young guy can rush the passer and plays this kinda run defense for your 2-7 team, you reward them with bands
Barmore’s earning himself more money every week https://t.co/lc3gYaADfA pic.twitter.com/WoBZUCtHZs
— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) November 14, 2023
“B-More is really probably in the best condition he’s been in,” said head coach Bill Belichick about him earlier this week. “He’s worked hard, he had a good offseason — really pushed himself in the weight room in the offseason program. He was healthy and strong going into the season, more than he’s been in any other year. I think you’re seeing the result really of a good offseason program and a lot of hard work. That’s what it’s about.”
Barmore joined the Patriots as the 38th overall selection in the 2021 draft, and the team made sure not to miss out on him after he surprisingly fell out of the first round: they made a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to jump up from spot No. 46 in order to get their hands on the Alabama product.
Since then, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound defender has consistently gotten better. And while injuries hampered his production as a sophomore, he has been able to overcome the adversity he faced in 2022 to develop into an ultra-reliable player for New England: playing 61.4 percent of defensive snaps, he already has notched a career-high 3.0 sacks among those aforementioned 26 total pressures.
At 2-8, the Patriots do have plenty of questions in need of answering. Whether to extend Christian Barmore should not be among them, though: for a team lacking blue chip talent across its roster, keeping one of its best players should be a no-brainer.
Originally posted on Pats Pulpit