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Video: Watch Lions rookie LB Derrick Barnes’ highlights vs. Steelers

For the second straight week, Barnes was all over the place.


Last week against the Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions rookie linebacker managed to make quite an impression in just eight snaps. Barnes recorded two tackles and a QB pressure that ended a drive from the Bills.

On Saturday, the Lions got a much longer look at Barnes, giving him nearly an entire half of football to see if he could replicate his impressive NFL Debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Needless to say, he answered that call.

Barnes showed what he was capable of in nearly every facet of the game. He tallied two pass breakups, including one that he should have intercepted. He displayed solid tackling form by making sure he wrapped up while hitting with enough force to make sure the ball carrier didn’t advance a single yard after contract. And for the second week in a row, he timed a blitz perfectly, went completely unblocked, and pressured the quarterback. Only this time, he got to the quarterback to tally his first NFL sack.

In all, he recorded six tackles, 1.0 sacks and two passes defended in just 25 total snaps.

But why describe it to you when I can just show you. Here are four highlights of Barnes’ play from Saturday night, which don’t even include his near interception:

On the first play, we see Barnes quickly recognize the draw play, avoid any second-level blocks, meet the running back on the outside, and make a perfect open-field tackle for just a 2-yard gain.

The second replay is his sack. You can see how he waits patiently for the blitzing corner to draw the attention of the running back, then use his explosive acceleration to make a b-line for the quarterback. Perhaps most impressive about this play is Barnes wrapping up the quarterback at full speed. How many times did we see Jarrad Davis do this only to overrun the quarterback and miss the sack? [Editor’s note: too many]

The third play is just another great example of solid tackling. He doesn’t make the best break on the ball, but he swallows the tight end for a gain of just 2 yards.

On the final play, he does a good job not overcommitting on the misdirection play, then, again, uses his speed to close in on the tight end and make a great play on the ball without committing pass interference.

The Lions may want to take him along slowly, as head coach Dan Campbell continues to refer to Barnes as a “pup.” However, given how well he’s already playing, combined with the troubling depth the Lions have at linebacker, we may see the rookie linebacker on Sundays sooner than anticipated.

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