New England Patriots trade up in NFL draft to pick Christian Barmore, latest Alabama player taken by Bill Belichick

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The New England Patriots traded up Friday night in the second round of the NFL draft and again tapped Bill Belichick's favored pipeline of Nick Saban's Alabama program by selecting defensive tackle Christian Barmore with the No. 38 overall pick.

The selection came a day after the Patriots picked Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round at No. 15 overall.

Barmore, who had a 23% chance of being available with the 38th pick according to ESPN's Draft Predictor, was one of the highest-rated players still available entering the second round. Barmore, who traveled to Cleveland for the draft, acknowledged he was "a little surprised" to slip to the second round.

The Patriots surrendered their second-round pick (No. 46) and two fourth-round selections (Nos. 122 and 139) to the Cincinnati Bengals to move up for Barmore, who joins fellow Alabama alums Dont'a Hightower, Damien Harris and Anfernee Jennings on the Patriots' roster.

Overall, this is the 12th time Belichick has drafted a player who played under Saban in college, which is the most players selected by a pro-college coach combo since the Common Draft era began in 1967.

Belichick calls Saban one of his closest friends in coaching, and after selecting Jones in the first round Thursday night, said: "Coach Saban's always very helpful in his evaluations. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Nick professionally, but also personally, and so we have always had great conversations about his experiences with the players and he does a good job of projecting what they would be like on this level because he's been on this level and knows the differences and knows the demands that are different from what they are at Alabama.

"Nick's great. He's a great resource and nobody knows more football than Nick does on any level. So whether it's evaluating players or scheming or anything else, game planning, there's nobody I enjoy talking to more than Nick."

Barmore said his favorite team growing up was the Patriots, explaining it this way: "My favorite college team was Alabama, so I love dominance. It's like the same program, just in the NFL. I love winners."

Of being the 12th player Belichick selected that has been coached by Saban, he said: "Being selected by Bill Belichick, and especially learning from my guy, Coach Saban the GOAT, it's a blessing playing for both of them. Really a dream come true."

The 6-foot-5 and 310-pound Barmore is a disruptive interior rusher, as his eight sacks in 2020 tied with current Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams for the third-most by an Alabama lineman in the past 10 seasons.

Since 2019, Barmore has the highest pressure percentage when lined up as a 3-technique (outside shade on the guard) at 19%. Last year's 14th overall pick, Javon Kinlaw, was second at 13%.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, 20 of Barmore's 34 individual pressures came when he was lined up as a 3-technique, most in the FBS.

Barmore joins a restocked defensive tackle position this offseason in New England that includes big-money free-agent signing Davon Godchaux and fellow newcomer Henry Anderson, along with returning captain Lawrence Guy, Byron Cowart, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Montravius Adams.