Continuing our series on NFL draft prospects for the Green Bay Packers, today we’ll highlight Alabama IDL Christian Barmore.
Christian Barmore – IDL, Alabama – 6’5″ 310 lbs
If you weren’t aware of Alabama’s Christian Barmore throughout the 2020 college football season, the National Championship Game was an impressive introduction. The redshirt sophomore wreaked havoc on Ohio State’s offensive line, recording five total tackles and a sack as the Crimson Tide rolled to another championship.
As just a two-year contributor and a part-time starter for Alabama, Barmore’s body of work is small. However, he’s generating some first-round buzz for a reason. He lined up in multiple spots along the defensive line college and displayed elite power everywhere he went.
A player this young with this much play strength is tantalizing for any defensive coordinator, even if his game needs some refinement at the next level.
Strength is Barmore’s biggest asset. He’s not quite as explosive as Iowa’s Daviyon Nixon, but he still packs a good combination of speed and strength that makes him a capable pass rusher from the inside.
There are multiple elements to his play strength. Barmore can generate power from his legs so he can use his body as a battering ram of sorts, but he’s also got heavy hands that can devastate blockers. Take a look at this first example of his pass rush skills from Alabama’s 2020 game against Georgia.
Instantly as the two come together, you can see Barmore overpower the center. He’s able to collapse the front of the pocket on his own, and after forcing the quarterback to move has the awareness to swipe at the ball and force the fumble.
Pairing the ability to both deliver a strong punch and bulldoze a blocker is essential for an interior pass rusher in the NFL. Barmore showed that he has that combination against the big, physical offensive lines of the SEC.
His versatility is also an asset. He profiles best as a 3-technique in the NFL, but displayed prowess in multiple alignments at Alabama. This next clip, featuring another strip sack, shows the redshirt sophomore getting to the quarterback from a 1-technique alignment at the snap.
At the college level, Barmore was able to beat offensive linemen regardless of his alignment. That’s not the sole reason to spend a top-50 pick on him, but it’s a bonus that makes him valuable in multiple schemes.
And watch his hands/arms on this rep. He takes on the right tackle and does a tremendous job shedding the block once he reaches the quarterback. Barmore’s ability to disengage and rip off a block consistently is vital to his value.
The run-of-the-mill concerns with young prospects who rely on superior athletic traits apply to Christian Barmore, too. He’s looked anywhere from good to great when he’s been on the field, but in a larger sample size would his play look as impressive? Will his dominant strength translate against good NFL offensive linemen?
As it pertains to Barmore specifically, the most glaring concern is his high pad level. It washes out his natural strength and makes him a liability in some power situations. Take this next video, for example:
Context is important, so we need to acknowledge that Ole Miss was facing a third down with 27 yards to go on this play, so a softer defense in general is expected. However, you can still see Barmore play with high pads here and he’s quickly removed from the play, opening a gaping hole for the running back.
He needs plenty of nuance and technique refinement in his game, as well. Barmore has a solid arsenal of pass rush moves from the inside, but he lacks consistency and he struggles with double teams. This is understandable given his lack of experience, but that doesn’t make it completely excusable.
Like a lot of the top prospects in this year’s IDL class, there’s a lot to like about Christian Barmore, especially when you consider the always-coveted potential he brings to the table. And he did produce against quality teams in college. He likely isn’t an immediate every-down player at the next level, though, similarly to how he was a situational player in his freshman season.
Barmore would be an interesting fit for the Green Bay Packers up front. His power would be a welcome addition to a unit that’s seen the likes of Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster getting washed out of plays far too often, but as we’ve seen that’s can be a concern for him, too. Is the good tape and potential enough reason to take him and withstand the growing pains as he tweaks his game to adjust to NFL athletes?
He might not be a pro gamebreaker from the very start, but five years of an athlete like Barmore is worth at least exploring on Day 1 of the draft. If Brian Gutekunst, Joe Berry and company want an instant playmaker, though, he probably isn’t the best fit.