Patriots

Patriots select Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins with 96th pick in 2021 NFL Draft

The Patriots used their first compensatory selection to take a defensive player.

The Patriots selected Ronnie Perkins with the 96th pick. AP Photo/Alonzo Adams

The New England Patriots selected Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins with the 96th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Perkins was the Patriots’ second defensive selection on Friday, after they traded up to No. 38 to draft Christian Barmore.

“Honestly, it’s surreal,” Perkins said on Friday after he was selected. “My mind can’t even wrap around it. Just to get the opportunity to get coached by Coach [Bill] Belichick is the most mind-blowing thing in my head right now. So honestly I’m so excited tonight. I just can’t even wait to go in and learn from Coach Belichick, the younger Coach [Steve] Belichick, like I’m just excited for this whole opportunity. I just can’t wait.”

Perkins finished his career at Oklahoma, he tallied 32 tackles for a loss and 16.5 sacks. Scouts praised his hustle and his ability to get into the opponent at the point of attack. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlien described Perkins as a “very average athlete” whose production is due to his toughness and his motor.

Perkins was suspended for the first five games of 2020 after reportedly failing a drug test for marijuana. When he returned, he tallied 10.5 tackles for a loss and 5.5 sacks.

Asked about his suspension on Friday, Perkins said he had to figure some things out as a person.

“[I was] dealing with some off-the-field stuff that kind of affected me on the field,” he said. “So really just taking the whole situation and learning from it and taking it into this draft process and learning from that situation like I said. Just becoming an NFL player, learning not to make that mistake again and learning how to deal with that off-the-field issue.”

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The Patriots’ pick was a compensatory selection, given to them for losing Tom Brady in free agency.

The package the Patriots traded to move up included the No. 46 pick, as well as No. 122 and 139. The Patriots still have a pick in the fourth round (120) as well as selections 188, 197 and 242.

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