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...So You Drafted Deion Barnes

Welcome to NFL Draft season! We here at Black Shoe Diaries know that you NFL fans can't possibly know about every single college player. That's why we're here to share with you all we know about some of our favorites. Today, we're going to tell you why you made the wonderful decision to draft Deion Barnes!

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The Skinny

Barnes had an interesting career at Penn State. After coming to Happy Valley as a three-star recruit out of Philadelphia and redshirting for a year, Barnes was a monster during his freshman campaign. In fact, during his first year of college ball, Barnes was named the Big Ten's Freshman of the Year. While it looked like he was on pace to become one of the best defensive ends to ever come through Happy Valley, he took a big step back during his sophomore year, where he Just off. There's no rhyme or reason to it, Barnes just appeared to struggle. He wasn't as explosive off the line and he wasn't getting by linemen as frequently as he did as a freshmen.

Then, during his junior year, Barnes came back in a big way. He was a terror off the edge, showing the technique, speed and strength that made him such a tantalizing prospect during his freshman campaign. Barnes was among the team leaders in tackles (44), tackles for loss (12.5) and sacks (6), and led the Nittany Lions with three QB hits. With a strong senior year, it seemed like Barnes could establish himself as a potential second-day prospect in 2016.

Of course, Barnes declared early, which is still weird to a lot of Nittany Lion fans. It's especially weird now that we know that his stock has fallen considerably -- he wasn't even invited to the scouting combine -- and there's a legitimate chance that he doesn't get drafted. If that's the case, he will likely be a highly-sought after undrafted free agent.

What You're Getting

First things first, Barnes just looks like an NFL defensive end in a 4-3/outside linebacker in a 3-4. At 6'4", 257 lbs., he compares favorably to a guy like St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn (6'4", 264). He also is pretty strong, as he put up 31 reps on the bench press at Penn State's Pro Day, which would have given him the seventh-best result in the drill at the combine at his position. His 7.26 second time in the cone drill and his 4.32 second time in the 20-yard shuttle would have been ninth-best among DL at the combine, while his 9'4" broad jump would have put him in the top-15 of all combine performers.

This probably doesn't surprise many people in Happy Valley. Barnes has always been a physical specimen, which makes the big knock on him so upsetting: he never seemed to manhandle anyone, as he was more reliant on technique than strength or anything else. Some NFL teams will love this, as it means they won't have to worry about coaching him up as much. Still, odds are most teams will wonder why we didn't see Barnes take over games more. While he showed that he's strong enough during workouts, that never seems to translate to games for whatever reason. It also led to an issue we saw during his sophomore year, there will be times where Barnes is engaged by an offensive lineman, and he just can't do anything about it.

As for on-field ability, scouts like Barnes as a pass rusher but question him against the run, which isn't too surprising, and probably means that he will be part of a rotation of guys and a passing downs specialist. Barnes is usually quick off the line and never gives up on plays, which will certainly make him appealing to a lot of teams. Plus as I just mentioned, he had his fair share of struggles when he was engaged by OL at points throughout his career. However, with his solid technique, adequate size and raw strength, there will definitely be a place for Barnes in the NFL if he is coached up. Or if he ends up on the same defensive line as J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Sign him, O'B.

Also: Kiper put this in his write-up on Barnes: "Shorter arms for a DE prospect. Big hands." For some reason this makes me think he's a carney, and it made me laugh.


If your team drafts Barnes, lets him work in the weight room and molds him into a 3-4 OLB or a 4-3 DE who specializes in pass rushing, the investment will pay off down the road. If he goes undrafted, and you pick him up as an UDFA, be patient and hope he gets coached up.


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