The New England Patriots are in the Meadowlands, set to partake in their third and final preseason game of 2021. New England will face the New York Giants on Sunday, August 29 at 6:00pm ET at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Prior to their matchup, the Pats and Giants participated in joint practices, on both Wednesday and Thursday in Foxboro. With final roster cut downs set for this Tuesday, August 31, both teams should be expected to expand upon their schemes, installations and positional matchups as they prepare for the upcoming season.
Though many Patriots players are expected to garner some attention during Thursday’s matchup, here are three players on defense that might raise an eyebrow when the Pats take the field against the Giants.
While it is unclear as to whether the newest Patriot will make his debut on Sunday, it would be beneficial for Shaun Wade to see as much of the field as possible. On Thursday, New England sent both a 2022 seventh-round pick and a 2023 fifth-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens for the rookie cornerback. Wade has adequate size to play either the slot or outside corner for New England. As the Patriots had been lacking depth at the position throughout camp, Wade’s acquisition should help add some strength and physicality to their defensive backfield. At his best, Wade is aggressive at the catch point, while showing an ability to read his opponent. Though he did struggle a bit with covering quick receivers during his final season at Ohio State, some of the blame should be placed on his injury. Thus far, Wade has shown no signs of being hampered by that injury. In fact, he snagged an interception in Baltimore’s first preseason game. With a strong showing against the Giants, Wade may play his way into an inside track for a depth spot among New England’s defensive backs.
Harvey Langi may be facing an uphill battle to make the 2021 Patriots roster. However, the 28-year-old linebacker has made a strong case to earn his second tour of duty in New England. In the Pats’ second preseason game against Philadelphia, Langi would finish the evening with 5 total tackles, one sack and a tackle for loss. He also notched an interception, making an aggressive move to snag a pass-breakup from defensive back Justin Bethel. With only so many spots available, the 28-year-old will need to continue to show prowess as a rotational depth option at both the off-the-ball and edge linebacker roles. If he hopes to secure a spot on the Patriots 53-man roster, he must also demonstrate his value on special teams, primarily in the kicking game. Look for Langi to be granted some meaningful snaps on Sunday, as he continues his quest to earn a place with the Pats in 2021.
While he may be a rookie, Barmore has performed with the prowess of an Nfl veteran. At 6-foot-4, 310 pounds, he has the athletic profile to make an immediate impact on the Pats defensive line. A lifelong fan of the very team for which he will now play, Barmore was considered one of the best defensive linemen in the 2021 Draft class. A stout defensive tackle, he blends his strength and power with great technique. During his time at Alabama, he shined in the Crimson Tide’s 3-4 setting, ranging from nose tackle to a 3-4 defensive end. Based on their offseason roster additions, New England appears poised to return to a 3-4 set, similar to that which gave them great success in 2019. Here is where Barmore can stand out for the Pats, sooner rather than later. He plays with good leverage, and is strong enough to take on double-teams. He locates the ball quickly, chases with good effort and has excellent range for his size. Barmore has the quick hands and flexibility to develop into a disruptive pass-rusher, with the potential to be an eventual three-down player. Thus far, the Alabama product has looked formidable during one-on-one drills and has held up well in coverage assignments. While his roster spot is almost-certainly secure, Barmore could make a case for a prominent role in New England’s front seven in 2021.