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Former NFL scout believes the National Championship Game “Defensive MVP” Christian Barmore should not be selected in the top 100 picks

Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore is considered by many as the top interior lineman in the NFL Draft, but former NFL scout Daniel Kelly is not a big fan. He believes Barmore is an underacheiver.

Scouting Report: DT Christian Barmore 6’5” 310 (Alabama)

Film reviewed: (2020) LSU, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Notre Dame, Auburn, Texas A&M and Ohio State

Big strong and powerful underachieving rotational defensive tackle who has upside as a pass rusher and he is a very average limited-area run defender. Played mostly at DT, but also played sparingly at NT and DE in different alignments. Classic highlight player who flashes elite and dominant ability at times, but one must watch his full body of work before falling in love with him. Barmore does have it in him. No question he has it in him. There were some real wow moments when it comes out of him, but has many softer moments too. A team cannot afford to take him high based on the ability he flashes or based on his potential. Players who lack effort never become high effort players. They are instead a constant source of frustration, because you know he has it in him. His wow moments are elite, but they are far and few between and a team must be willing to live with that. A team must consider his full body of work before making a decision. Best suited as a pass rushing sub player. This is exactly the type of player a team will over-grade and take way too high in the draft. I am not seeing elite consistent production to warrant a first, second or even a third round pick. 

Limited-area run defender who occupies space and occasionally can lock out with arms and come off a block and make a tackle laterally. However, that is not often enough through the course of watching six games. If the run play is outside the tackles, Barmore generally is seen jogging half speed on the backside. More often gets stalemated or even washed down once in a while. Was not much of a factor against the run. Certainly not much of a play-maker against the run. Flashed ability to slip through a gap and make one tackle in the backfield during these six games mentioned. Barmore produced 37 tackles (22 solo and 15 assists) in 2020 and 26 tackles (12 solo and 14 assists) in 2019 (espn.com).

Barmore was two different players in pass rushing situations. Tends to look slow off the snap. He is not explosive and does not have quick twitch, pop or jolt at the point of contact. Elite brute power and speed builds like an avalanche. If he gets stopped before he gets started he is not getting there. Has quick hands when he wants to use them. When he is on shows lightning quick swim. Has spin moves. Excels as a gap shooting pass rusher who tends to get more pressure than outright sacks in the games I watched. Works to get into gaps. Could be seen many times quickly shooting inside, but he could not get there in time. Will run in with arms and hands up in passing lanes. Has elite short-area closing ability. Explosive burst. Can run stunts and games well. Draws a fair amount of double teams when he gets stalemated. Does have brute strength to bull rush, but again it is seldom. Flashes that too. Flashes elite and dominant type of ability, but it is just not nearly enough. Classic type of player who will do well running all the drills and a team will reach for as a result. Barmore produced 8 sacks in 2020 and 2 sacks in 2019 (espn.com). Often pushes the pocket some, but not enough to make a real difference or disrupt the offense enough. Has trouble adjusting in space if the quarterback gives him a move. 

Barmore has it in him, but it just does not come out nearly enough. Explosive player with a very average overall motor. I found myself saying, “wow,” several times. He has that kind of ability, but then he disappears. Turns it on. Turns it off. Big difference between when he is going full speed and kind of taking it easy. The Ohio State game confirmed that versus the other games listed. True difference maker only maybe about 25 percent of the time overall. Easy to fall in love with in those limited situations, but he is a heart-breaker the rest of the time. This guy has the pure ability to wreck things, but it is just not in him a majority of the time. Fits best in gap-shooting defensive schemes. Seemed to excel when he was moved around right before the snap and when lined up tilted.

Where would I take Christian Barmore?

Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: He is not on my draft board. If there is one thing I cannot have on my team, it is underachievers. Barmore absolutely has the type of pure ability I love, but I cannot get into a player who is just so-so on film about 75% of the time. He has pure first-round ability, but because of the gross underachieving, I am giving him a fourth-round league grade. He is someone to rotate into the game on 3rd down passing situations when he can do his thing and put pressure on the QB. 

Probability of being a bust: 50% 

If I were a GM, this is the one question I would need to have answered in my mind about Christian Barmore: There are reports that several teams are concerned about Barmore’s “Resistance to coaching and structure at Alabama” . I would need to get further clarification into these reports.

Top 7 concerns about Barmore:

  1. Underachiever (he is two different players on film)
  2. Sack production spiked in 2020 versus 2019
  3. Stamina
  4. More of a sub player, pass rusher type
  5. He seemed to really come on in this season’s college playoffs (last impression before the draft). Half of his eight sacks came late in the season. Was he trying to showcase for the NFL Draft?
  6. Based on what he showed in the National Championship game, he very well could be the type of player who goes all out in a contract year, but the rest of the time is just so-so. This is an extremely realistic concern based on the overall body of work he put on film. Barmore clearly played with more juice and a lot more fight in his last college game when compared to the other six games listed. He was noticeably more active in the game against Ohio State.
  7. How important is football to him? (a real concern with underachievers)

How an offense will beat him: Double-teams are a sure fire way of completely neutralizing him in pass-rush situations. Most the time he neutralizes himself.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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