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Sooners in 2021 NFL Draft: Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins taken No. 96 overall by New England Patriots

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Ronnie Perkins Draft

Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins has been selected No. 96 overall by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Former Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins was selected by the New England Patriots with the No. 96 overall pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Friday.

Perkins is the first Oklahoma defensive end to be drafted since Charles Tapper was taken in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Dallas. The St. Louis, Missouri, native finished last season with 10.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks after missing the Sooners’ first five games due to suspension.

A second team All-Big 12 selection by the conference’s coaches in 2020, Perkins’ best performance last season came in OU’s 41-13 victory over Oklahoma State on Nov. 21. He finished the night with two sacks and five tackles.

Perkins also helped lead the Sooners’ defense to an average of 105 allowed rushing yards per game, the second-lowest in the Big 12. At OU’s Pro Day on March 12, Perkins recorded 25 reps on bench press and a 4.74 40-yard dash.

"Ronnie was a leader and impact player in our program for the last couple years," Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said. "He's really developed into an outstanding edge player. He's equally good in pass rush as he is in defending the run game.

"He plays with an edge and an attitude that really takes a guy who's talented and transforms him into becoming an even better player. I think he'll certainly be a guy who will create a lot of problems on the edge at the next level for the Patriots."

In his career, the 6-foot-3 defensive end totaled 98 tackles and 16.5 sacks for Oklahoma. He was also an All-Big 12 second team in 2019 and was a freshman All-American by ESPN in 2018. Perkins, listed as a first round option in some mock drafts, could compete for playing time with New England right away. He'll join Lawrence Guy, Deatrich Wise Jr. and Henry Anderson among other defensive ends on the Patriots' roster.

The Patriots' complete season schedule, along with every other NFL team’s, will be unveiled May 12.

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Chandler Engelbrecht is a journalism senior and the Daily's assistant sports editor. He currently covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, volleyball and men's gymnastics.

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