The Detroit Lions made an aggressive move by trading up to acquire Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes and a quick look at his highlight reel makes it easy to see why they love his potential.
“We had a lot of buy-in and we were all hot on Barnes from Purdue,” Lions’ general manager Brad Holmes said at his post-2021 NFL draft press conference. “Wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to still acquire him back to 153, so wanted to see if we could get ourselves in position to make the trade to get both (WR Amon-Ra St. Brown) of them. We were able to do it and have success with the trade, so extremely happy. Barnes is, you talk about elite character and intangibles, and you guys have heard me say thousands of times, those are the players that we’re looking for.”
Barnes is a modern era linebacker and his ability to merge old school mentality with above-average athleticism made him a very appealing prospect and one the Lions didn’t want to miss out on.
“Barnes, he’s so intriguing because, yes, he might have that approach and demeanor of, like you say, kind of that older school linebacker, but that dude is fast,” Holmes continued. “He’s explosive. He can really run. He’s got long arms. He can shed blocks. He plays with tenacity. He has a background as a pass-rusher, so he’s got the versatility to do a lot of different things and I think that that’s needed in today’s game.
Let’s take a closer look at some of those traits by looking at Barnes college highlights, starting with the video produced by the Lions’ media department.
One guy who has caught some buzz this week thanks to an impressive Pro Day workout is #BoilerUp LB Derrick Barnes@gregcosell explained on the Journey To The Draft Prospect why he's such an intriguing player #TheDraftStartsInMobile— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) March 25, 2021
FULL SEGMENT: https://t.co/eDpgJLJRyX pic.twitter.com/LEvQu3Bt63
Purdue LB Derrick Barnes dominated his Pro Day— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) March 24, 2021
Long Arms ✅
Stout Core ✅
Explosive Lower Half ✅
Watch these clips of him playing EDGE. Powerful/flashing that closing burst!
Would love off-ball role in base & then subrush... Zone coverage scheme would love him! ...Packers?! pic.twitter.com/Ke1pgiFyzi
One of fastest rising LB in 2021 draft is @BoilerFootball Derrick Barnes. Showed edge rush ability as junior with 7.5 sacks and SL-to-SL speed playing off the ball this year. @derrickbarnes21 also had some good coverage reps for 245-lber at Senior Bowl with his reactive trigger. pic.twitter.com/ZRouUoxD7D— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) February 15, 2021
Purdue LB Derrick Barnes is one of my favorite players in the class. Tested well, very good tackler, super physical and aggressive in his fills, shows off range, coming along in zone coverage...big fan of his skill set pic.twitter.com/nHiQKKm29e— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) March 31, 2021
Derrick Barnes, Purdue - #55, 6'1", 245 pounds— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) February 16, 2021
- Versatile, played EDGE in 2019, MIKE in 2020
- Violent hands, stacks and rips through OL with ease
- Good burst, converts explosion through blocks/ballcarrier
- High IQ and quick play ID
- Comfortable in coverage w/ good route ID pic.twitter.com/qA9Jhdwvra