Christian Barmore has a simple philosophy for picking his favorite football teams.
“I love dominance,” said Barmore, who grew up rooting for Alabama and the Patriots. “I love winners.”
Now the massive defensive lineman gets to say he’s played for both after the Patriots tapped their Tuscaloosa connection again Friday night, trading up in the second round to get Barmore with the 38th overall pick.
New England sent three picks to Cincinnati (Nos. 46, 122, and 139) to acquire Barmore, the second Crimson Tide player Bill Belichick in two days after selecting quarterback Mac Jones in the first round Thursday.
“It’s pretty unusual for the first interior defensive lineman to be drafted [that late],” said Belichick. “Felt good about acquiring [him] ... He has good quickness and good instincts.”
Barmore is the eighth Alabama player taken during Belichick’s New England tenure and the 13th player coached by Nick Saban. Belichick selected three players from Saban’s LSU teams and two from his Michigan State squads.
“[Nick is] a great resource and nobody knows more football than Nick does on any level,” Belichick said after the first round. “So, whether it’s evaluating players or scheming or anything else, game planning, there’s nobody I enjoy talking to more than Nick.”
Barmore is excited for the next chapter.
“Being selected by Bill Belichick, especially after having learned from Coach Saban, the GOAT, is a blessing,” said Barmore. “Being a part of both of them, playing for both of them, is a blessing. It’s really a dream come true.”
A ferocious and energetic inside monster, the 6-foot-5-inch, 310-pound Barmore was the top-ranked defensive tackle on a lot of boards after registering eight sacks for the 2020 national champions.
Barmore was in Cleveland for the first round of the draft Thursday night and posed for a backstage picture with Jones, who congratulated his teammate on social media shortly after he was selected.
“Mac Jones, that’s really my guy. Since freshman year, I’ve known this guy and always been with him every day,” said Barmore. “[He’s] a real good teammate.”
Barmore, who will turn 22 in July, has rare explosiveness for his size and showed the ability to be a disruptive inside pass rusher. He’s the kind of bad dude (that’s a compliment) that really puts quarterbacks in a bad mood because he takes away their time and space.
Though he started only six of 24 games over the last two seasons, Barmore made great strides and developed into one of the best interior defenders in the country. In addition to his 8 sacks, he forced 3 fumbles and defended 3 passes.
He believes his late-season surge came from his motivation to help win a title.
“Probably because I wanted to help the defense get more dominant,” he said. “Especially like how the offense was. I was just in a whole different mode, just playing to help my brothers like we all were playing. The mission was to win the championship and we achieved that goal. So, I was just doing the best I can for my teammates.’'
Because the Patriots likely will run a lot of 3-4 looks, Barmore could slide to end in base defenses, then kick inside in sub-packages featuring four-man fronts.
He could help fill the void left by Adam Butler, the team’s top interior pass rusher the last three seasons, who signed with the Dolphins.
Barmore does have experience up and down the line.
“I played everywhere they put me at,” said Barmore. “Literally at ‘Bama, we move everywhere on the D-line. So, I played everywhere they wanted me to play.’’
It’s likely the Patriots, who employ a similar system to Alabama’s, will line him up in multiple spots.
“Wherever Coach puts me, that’s where I’m ready to work at,” Barmore said.
Barmore said he doesn’t “model” his game after specific players. He prefers to leave his own unique impression.
“Well, I’m me, Christian Barmore. I play like me,” he said. “That’s the kind of guy I am. I’m a dominant player … But I’m really blessed to play for the Patriots, really. Trust me, I’m going to be the [best] that I can be for the team.”
The Patriots struggled against the run in 2020, allowing 131.4 yards per game and 2,103 yards total, the third worst in the Belichick era. It’s a major reason the club invested heavily along the line in free agency.
Belichick re-signed Lawrence Guy (four years, $11.5 million), and signed Davon Godchaux (two years, $15 million), Harry Anderson (two years, $7 million), and Montravius Adams (one year, $1.095 million).
Now Barmore, the defensive MVP of Alabama’s national championship game, will infuse some youth and energy into the front seven while learning from some veterans.