Like any NFL team over the weekend, the Detroit Lions are always looking for their best fits in the NFL Draft in terms of position and player, but sometimes, the stars simply align and provide both parties a miracle.
When the Lions selected Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes, this was exactly what played out. Not only did the Lions get a linebacker that compares favorably to players who are already in the NFL, but thy got a guy who identifies with Lions and feels as if the fit was natural as well.
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After the selection, Barnes even revealed that he has a tattoo of a lion on his chest. If that isn’t something which proves this pick was destined, nothing will.
Derrick Barnes just so happens to have a large Lions tattoo across his chest. It’s his favorite animal. He said it was just meant to be to be a Detroit Lion.
— Tim Twentyman (@ttwentyman) May 1, 2021
While there is no visual evidence of the tattoo now, it’s safe to say the Lions will be thrilled to get a player that so embodies what it means to be not only a member of the team, but the team’s mascot as well.
The Lions traded up for Barnes, and it could have been for a very good reason.
Barnes Compared to NFL All-Pro Demario Davis
Needing help at linebacker, the Lions didn’t feel as if they could wait on Saturday, and struck a deal to trade up to get the guy they wanted in Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes.
Barnes is a speedy linebacker that flies around and packs a punch, and will add an exciting element to a Detroit defense that needed some major help on that side of the ball in 2021. The good news for Detroit? He might be the kind of player who reminds some of another successful player in the league in Demario Davis.
What a start to day 3 for the Lions. My top-ranked WR left and my top LB. Derrick Barnes is going to be a STUD. Definitely gives me some Demario Davis vibes on his tape, so no surprise Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn wanted him.
New GM Brad Holmes killing the draft
— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) May 1, 2021
Davis has played in the league for the New Orleans Saints and is a player who was a 2019 All-Pro and 2020 second-team All-Pro. He also put up 922 tackles and 26.5 sacks in his career, so the Lions would love it if this comparison is true. If there’s anyone who could get Barnes into that role it’s Detroit, considering Aaron Glenn and Dan Campbell came from the Saints.
The hope for the Lions is Barnes can develop like that for the team in the future to help turn around their linebacker group. It’s been a spot of trouble for years, and the team is counting on Barnes stepping up and stepping in big.
Barnes’ Stats and Highlights
Safe to say where folks are getting some of the elite comparisons. Barnes has been a productive player in the Big Ten, racking up 226 tackles, 25 tackles for-loss, 10.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception in his college career. The numbers paint the picture of a tackling machine and a guy who can get after it in between the lines and make big plays for a defense sideline to sideline. It will depend on how Detroit wants to use Barnes, but the talent is there.
Here’s a look at what the highlights show:
Will Barnes become a guy who turns himself into a player like Davis or another successful NFL linebacker? That remains to be seen, but it’s clear he is the kind of player that has all the tools and skills to make an impact at the next level.
He’s also got the right tattoo.
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