Detroit Lions Draft Opinion Piece - Derrick Barnes

In the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions traded up to No. 113 overall to select Purdue Linebacker Derrick Danta Jr. Barnes.


Let's have a look at his pro-day figures:


Height: 6'0 (RAS 2.77)

Weight: 238 lbs

20-yard shuttle: 4.32s

40-yard sprint: 4.58s (RAS 9.12)

Vert: 37"

Broad: 9'11

Bench: 29 reps


(Overall RAS 8.42 - https://ras.football/ras-information/?PlayerID=19393)


Clearly, he's a fast player with good strength and explosion but a little small, based purely on the above, but let's dig a little deeper:


High School


A graduate of Covington Holy Cross high school, he has a large Lions tattoo across his chest, being his favourite animal, it felt like fate that we should take him.


At high school, he played both linebacker and running back, rushing for 1567 yards on 150 carries with 22 touchdowns as a senior, as well as 3 kick return touchdowns. He also recovered four fumbles and had three interceptions.


Bruce Kozerski, formerly of the Bengals, and Barnes' high school coach said of him "He's a game-changer. He makes plays from sideline to sideline. Teams try to run away from him, but he's so fast. When you get up close to him and see how big he is, it's hard to believe he can move the way he does".


Despite his success, and being named Class 2A District player of the year award, he was only a two-star recruit, ranked as the 2,697th player in the nation, and the 122nd linebacker.


College


Coming out of high school, he committed to Toledo initially, before switch his allegiance to Purdue. On the decision, Barnes said, "Education is a big part of it... It's a blessing for me and my family... I'll be a great teammate, I'll give 100 per cent every day in the weight room, on the field and in games to help my team win games."


Barnes ended up playing mainly on special teams as a rotational player as a freshman, before becoming a 3-year starter. He started at the MIKE position as a freshman, before moving to the LEO role (a pass rusher lined up outside of the left end). They're not quite a Defensive End, and not quite a linebacker.


Barnes excelled in this role for two seasons, playing 25 games with 155 tackles, including 19 for a loss, 10.5 sacks, 2 passes defended, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery (per Sports-Reference)


In his senior year, he was moved back off-ball to the MIKE position, for the shortened 2020 college season. Even though this was only 6 games he impressed with 54 tackles, with 5.5 for a loss, his first interception and a pass defended. His excellent performances earned him an invite to the Reece's Senior Bowl.


Of his practices in the Senior Bowl training week, Pro Football Network said "[Barnes] had a good week...There were some concerns over whether he could move well [with his weight and height]. I think he proved himself to have decent athleticism for that size, and he also provided a steady presence in the linebacker group. He wasn't much of a playmaker b