One of the most underrated positions in football recently is the Inside Linebacker. There are a lot of good ones in the NFL and they are the Quarterbacks of their defense. However, during the NFL draft, you will normally only see 1 or 2 of ILB that are selected in the 1st round. One ILB in this year’s draft that may go under the radar is Lamin Barrow from LSU. He is a versatile athlete that can play both inside and outside linebacker. If he wants to be an every down player on the inside at the next level, we may have to get up another 10 lbs, he has already showed a commitment to do that, going from 229 to 237 at the NFL Combine.
Barrow is a 5th year senior and a 2 year starter. He had 91 tackles last year, after having 104 the previous year. He had 4.5 tackles for loss this year and 7.5 tackles for loss last year. He is a good run stopper and was very under-appreciated with all the other NFL draftees that he has played with, including Barkevious Mingo, Eric Reid, and Kevin Minter. His biggest knocks are his size, which he is improving on, and his pass coverage skills, which he was able to show at the combine today. He showed up at the NFL Combine and measured 6’1 237 lbs with a with a 10 and 3/8th inch hand length. He opened some eyes with his combine drills Monday.
Barrow was impressive at the Senior Bowl and opened a lot of eyes in the Senior Bowl practices, which is probably much more important than game itself. Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach, specifically mentioned Barrow as a player that stood out to him. Barrow is currently being projected to go in the range of the 3rd or 4th round, but like I mentioned earlier, that just like the running backs position, where you are picked as an ILB is no reflection of how good the player is and the impact that he can make. He was projected to run his forty in between the 4.7 to 4.8 range. However, he bettered that by running a 4.64 forty along with a broad jump of 123 inches, which shows his explosiveness.
Barrow is 1 of the most explosive ILBs in the draft and he proved that today. His game speed is probably better than his timed speed, which is a good thing. He takes good angles to the ball and he seems to be always around the ball, which is the best thing you can say about any linebacker. His body type would probably fit better as either an OLB in a 4-3 or an ILB in a 3-4. He may have to work on hand placement a bit when shedding blockers, but that is something that technique can easily fix. Overall, he may not be the best at 1 particular skill, but he does everything well, nothing really bad, and he’s a smart player, the type you want quarterbacking your defense.
Because of obviously wanting to stay home, Barrow mentioned at the Senior Bowl that he’d love to be a member of the New Orleans Saints. Defense is something that the Saints definitely have a need for, so the opportunity may be there. However, even if it’s not to New Orleans, Lamin Barrow is a type of player that will definitely make an impact on the next level and will be a pleasant surprised for anyone that selects him in the in the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft. He a name that you may not even remember when he’s selected on draft day, but you’ll definitely be remembering his name when he’s making big plays on Sunday.
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