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Is Derrick Barnes the versatile prospect Washington needs at LB?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 Vanderbilt at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Derrick Barnes, LB

School: Purdue | Conference: Big Ten

College Experience: Senior | Age: 21

Height / Weight: 6’0” / 238 lbs

Projected Draft Status: 5th-7th Round

Player Comparison: Jon Bostic

College Statistics

Player Overview

Derrick Barnes has played in a number of positions in Purdue’s front seven. His four years there saw him line up at middle linebacker, outside linebacker, and defensive end. While playing well at all those positions, Barnes says he felt most at home at linebacker. It showed as his sophomore year at linebacker proved to be his most productive. He even found a way to produce at defensive end his junior year despite it not being his natural position. His senior year, he lost weight to move back to linebacker and finish his career. His play this past season garnered second-team all-Big Ten honors.


  • Uses length (33” arms and 81” wingspan) to keep blockers off him and make tackles.
  • Does a good job of finding the ball when engaged on a block to make a play
  • Versatility; An effective blitzer with experience playing DE in a 4-3.
  • Enough speed and athleticism to play sideline-to-sideline ability


  • Missed a few sacks because he struggled to break down and make a tackle
  • Tight in the hips that can be seen when he changes directions
  • Needs to be more aware in zone coverage

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

I wish I could find more tape on Barnes because I came away more impressed than I thought I would. Despite his height, he uses his length effectively to stay alive against blockers and make tackles. He uses his athleticism and speed to do a good job covering running backs in the flat and blitzing in the A-gap. Although he weighs 245 lbs, he needs to get stronger taking on blockers. I also wonder if he would be better had he not switched between linebacker and defensive end.

Barnes looks like a good Day 3 option for Washington at linebacker if they don’t address the position earlier. He is a jack of all trades, master of none prospect who does many things well but nothing great. I think he has the athleticism to play in sub packages without sacrificing the ability to stop the run, especially if he can get stronger and improve his coverage instincts. He could be the primary backup to Bostic for a period of time and maybe supplant him at the position. He may also be able to play SAM LB. He certainly should be able to come in and make an impact on special teams.