The New York Giants love drafting defensive tackles early. They rarely let a draft pass without selecting an interior defensive lineman by the end of the second day. In particular, they love to draft big, athletic defensive tackles who can clog interior rushing (or passing) lanes as well as be disruptive in the backfield.
The 2021 interior defensive line class isn’t highly regarded, but it isn’t a poor one either. This class has a number of players who could be disruptive pieces in the NFL. Alabama’s Christian Barmore holds pride of place as one of the most highly regarded defensive tackles in this class, and one of the few who could earn first round consideration. He surprised by declaring for the draft after his red-shirt sophomore season, but could he cash in on a productive second year for Alabama?
Prospect: Christian Barmore
Games Watched: vs. Texas A&M (2019), vs. Ole Miss (2020), vs. LSU (2020), vs. Notre Dame (2020)
Games Played: 22
Tackles For a loss: 15.5
Forced Fumbles: 3
Passes Defensed: 5
Games Played: 11
Tackles For a loss: 9.5
Forced Fumbles: 3
Passes Defensed: 3
Best: Size, length, explosiveness, competitive toughness
Worst: Leverage, hand technique, agility
Projection: A starting B-gap defender in a 1-gap defensive front.
Christian Barmore is a big, long, powerful interior defensive lineman from the University of Alabama.
Barmore aligned at a number of positions in Alabama’s front, playing the 0-technique nose tackle and tilt-nose tackle, as well as the 3, 4i, and 5-techniques depending on the down, distance, and defensive package.
Barmore settles into a compact stance, timing the snap well before exploding into the blocker across from him. He has great play strength and initial quickness, with the ability to overwhelm unwary blockers with his explosive power. Barmore also features heavy, active hands as a rusher. Between his initial quickness, explosive power, and heavy hands, Barmore can be a real challenge for linemen to engage with and sustain blocks.
Barmore also has surprising lateral agility and is particularly effective in TEX (tackle end exchange) stunts in which he loops to the outside. Between his ability to penetrate inside and replace edge rushers attacking the C or D gaps, Barmore flashes significant disruption against both the run and the pass.
Unfortunately, Barmore also struggles to play with consistent leverage. He has a tendency to let his base narrow and knees straighten — particularly over longer reps — which can force his hips up and result in lunging at blockers. And while he has an effective swim move as a pass rusher, it is his only move besides trying to physically overwhelm blockers.
Too often blockers can get under Barmore’s pads, gaining leverage on him and allowing them to mitigate his considerable power. He can also find himself hung up on blockers as a pass rusher in those situations as well, as his swim move can expose his chest plate or flank to blockers when he initiates without proper leverage.
Overall Grade: 8.3 - This prospect has the potential to start in a variety of fronts early in his career but needs some development to reach his full upside.
Christian Barmore projects best as a B-gap defender in a defensive front which uses one-gap principles. He has the ability to play in a three or four-man front, ideally lining up as a 4i or 5 technique in a 3-man front or a 3-technique in a four-man front.
Barmore is explosively powerful and has the potential to be a disruptive force in the NFL. His initial quickness and power make it very tough for offensive linemen to lock in and sustain blocks. Likewise, his lateral agility opens intriguing possibilities for games along the line of scrimmage which could cause chaos for blocking schemes.
Barmore was primarily used as a rotational player by Alabama, and he will need to play with much better consistency to be an every-down player at the NFL level. While he could physically overwhelm most collegiate linemen, NFL veterans will be able to match him for quickness and exploit a consistent lack of leverage or predictability in his rushes.
If he can iron out those wrinkles, however, Barmore presents an intriguing option for an NFL team looking for an interior disruptor.