The Detroit Lions brought one of their best ever players back into the fold in the form of Chris Spielman, and the former linebacker knows a thing or two about the position he used to play so well on the field.
Spielman was said to want a linebacker in the draft, and he had to wait until day three in order to find one in the form of Purdue’s Derrick Barnes. That could have been by design, however, as it may have been Barnes who was best able to pass the “Spielman test” in terms of a linebacker.
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Recently, Lions general manager Brad Holmes held a Zoom chat with season ticket holders, and one of the most interesting takeaways was his hint that Barnes was able to pass the mustard with Spielman in terms of being a linebacker the team would pick.
Brad Holmes : per Chris Spielman’s high LB standards, Barnes was finally a LB who he liked 😂
— Sweta Patel (@sweta2311) May 11, 2021
Obviously, that comes with a level of added pressure for Barnes, but it’s still neat to hear that one of Detroit’s best and most revered linebackers had a heavy hand in getting the new generation into the mix. If folks believe that Spielman has the right insight into what makes a great linebacker, they should love this tidbit.
Dan Campbell Called Barnes’Foundational Piece’ for Lions
Detroit needed a linebacker to add to the mix, and while many figured they might add one quicker, Barnes still comes to the team with a great shot at making an imprint given the way folks within the organization seem to believe in him.
Just this past week, while speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Lions coach Dan Campbell discussed his draft class, and his excitement about Barnes could not be held in. As he said, the team believes that Barnes could be a foundational piece for the defense and for the roster given all he can do well.
They *love* Barnes and believe he could become a foundational piece. “He’s got so much room to grow. … He can run, he’s tough, he’s smart, 34-inch arms so he comes downhill and he can shed blocks. We all think he can grow into something special. His character reeks of success.”
— Chris Burke (@ChrisBurkeNFL) May 5, 2021
That’s high praise for Barnes from Campbell and the organization, and it’s clear if he has the blessing of not only the coach but Spielman, the sky could be the limit for the young defender.
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 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. It’s also clear that he is appreciated by Spielman for his unique talents.
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