Next Pats: How will Ronnie Perkins' game translate to the NFL?


The New England Patriots bolstered their front seven by adding Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Perkins tallied at least five sacks in all three of his seasons with the Sooners. The 6-foot-3, 247-pounder says he models his game after Patriots standouts Willie McGinest and Dont'a Hightower.

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Obviously, Perkins developing into a Pro Bowler would make him a third-round steal. But before that can happen, he'll have to simply learn how to take his game and apply it to the NFL level. Perkins' OLB/DE coach at Oklahoma, Jamar Cain, joined Phil Perry on a brand new episode of the Next Pats Podcast to discuss how Perkins' skillset will translate to the pros.

Next Pats Podcast: How Ronnie Perkins will bring his “alpha” mentality from Oklahoma to Patriots | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"I think his strength is he had heavy hands," Cain said. "Like, when Ronnie punched you, he really punched you. I think he played with heavy hands and he just never stopped. He has a high motor and he just kept going, and going, and going. So I think those are two things that will help him out early in his career, and once he learns how to pass rush a little bit better, learn how to get off blocks, you'll see his game turn to the next level.

"But I think early in his career you'll see the heavy handed punches. You'll see that motor doesn't stop. That's what I think the Patriots saw on film with him."

One play from Perkins stood out to Cain as the one that showed he was ready for the NFL.

"I think it was his first play against Texas Tech last year," Cain said. "We were winning and they had broke a 30-yard run down the sideline, and all you see is No. 7 just come up and chase the guy from the backside and he pushes him out of bounds at the two-yard line. That was his first game back [from suspension]. ... For Ronnie to chase that running back 30 yards down the field, I was like, 'OK, this kid is pretty special.' "

Also discussed in the episode: How Perkins handled his suspension from the NCAA, the two characteristics that make Perkins a great football player, and Perry’s OTA observations.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch on YouTube below:

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