Mix of Smarts, Leadership, and Athleticism.
Barron is a very unique talent. He might be the closest player we’ve
seen to the new Strong Safety. As teams needs to defend the pass
more than the the Strong Safety is being phased out of the game. The value
of the SS is dropping as well. Barron will drop in the Draft, not just because
of double hernia surgery, but because the value of SS has reached an
all-time low. The first and almost only way to judge Safeties now is what
they do in the passing game. A SS is shifting to what the old FS was, and
the FS is looking more and more like a 3rd Corner.
can be a force in the Box, but the Strong Safeties had better be able to
run and cover deep. He can do both. He plays a lot of Cover Two, and Cover
One were he is the last line of defense. He understands his
responsibilities, and that of every one else in the Secondary. “With
me, I kinda learned it kinda fast. But I was learning different positions.
I was learning three positions at one time. With me, I was learning it,
but at the same time, I was getting some things mixed up, like I would be
at one position thinking about my responsibility at another position.
That’s what made it more difficult for me, but I don’t believe a
person could learn that defense in under a year.
is a leader who will run the Secondary for the coaches on the field in a
few years. "Even
though he's one of those guys who doesn't say much, when he does say
something, he's probably one of the most respected guys on our team,"
said. "And I think he has a
presence about him that is felt by the players around him all the
main question has been does he have the hips to turn in run in coverage. I
think he has shown unequivocally on Tape that he can. When he plays in the
Box, his primary responsibility is often to cover the RB coming out of the
backfield. He has a lot of experience covering the RB, and he has shown he
has the hips and speed to do it well.
also will line up in the Slot and cover the inside Wide Receiver. He has
shown he can turn when the WR cuts, and still make a play on the ball.
That is a very difficult thing for any Safety to do. He plays his position
so well, and knows when he has to protect the outside and help inside. He
knows were he can cheat, and were his mates are suppose to be on the
thing the new Strong Safety has to be able to do is cover the Tight Ends
down the Seam. He has the size and hips to cover tight ends.
He wasn’t asked to cover TE a lot, but he did show he could do it
in limited reps.
most interesting aspect of Barron is that he often played Nickel
Linebacker early and often. This is something BB has been looking for, for
a while. He played that role very well. You will see it a lot on this tape
(pay close attention;-). I’m not going to go to long on the introduction
(as I went to long on the Tape as I am wont to do;-). This Tape Barron was
extremely well done and really showed how multitalented he is.
the tape showed him at single high Safety, and the fine thin line he has
to walk. He does it real well, playing with excellent intelligences,
position, and angles. The end of the Tape also shows when he doesn’t
play that fine thin finely, which in the end isn’t very often.
vs Penn ST
first play is easy to see (:08). He lines up in Cover Two, and then sneaks
into the box. He covers for the two ILBs moving up, and the RILB's delayed
blitzes. He sees the TE sneaking out and takes away that option from the
QB who has to leave the pocket do to pressure. He switches sides on this
play. He knows all the responsibilities of all the positions in the
secondary so he can play anywhere (:08). Again, he sneaks up into the box,
but this time to blitz not to cover for the blitzing ILB. He comes in
fast. Spots the handoff and takes out the RB, (:18). I love that play. His
adjustment to the hand off is excellent. Then he breaks down, gets his
arms out wide hits him high and holds onto his legs for the tackle.
he is in the box playing like a linebacker in the Dime package, which you
could see him do in the NFL. Especially if he goes to the Pats. BB has
been looking for a big Safety to play Nickel and Dime Linebacker for
years. He flows over to the Slot and picks up the big TE (:25). Here he is
as the single high Safety. He is the last line of defense. He does a nice
job getting off the WR block. Tracking the track guy, and not letting him
back into the middle of the field. He plays the angle until there is
nowhere for the little guy to go (:30). Most people always look for the
spectacular play by the Safety. But mostly, it’s playing the angles and
knowing your position. He played that perfectly, even though it was a
25-yard run. He was the last line of defense, and if he didn’t play the
angle correctly or got out of position the track guy scores. A lot of
people look at the play and think Barron didn’t play it right, but that
is completely incorrect. The rest of the defense screwed up and he saved
his teammates bacon as the last line of defense.
how fast he reads this play. He is a two-deep zone, so he has more leeway
then the last play when he was the single high Safety. Two steps and he is
charging to the RB. Some say he is a bad tackler. I disagree. He is a
hitter. Sometimes Safeties have to make the safe play (like on the last
play), and sometimes they have to make the big play or the big hit. That
was play when the big hit was the right play. Sometimes when you look for
the big hit it is the wrong play and you can look real bad, and sometimes
it is the right play, but the ball-carrier makes a better play. It is a
fine line these guys have to dance on at speeds most of us will never
reach. He rides that line better than most when it comes to quick
he is back in the Box with the shadow of the Endzone on his back. He moves
up into the Nickel Linebacker, a role BB has looking to fill since Tank
Williams, and used Julian Edelman in that role last season. In the new
pass first and ask questions later NFL, BB wants a Safety who can play in
the box on passing downs, which means covering the TE down the Seam,
covering the RB sneaking out of the backfield, and
still being able to step up and stop the run on Draws, Delays, or even
Options like a LB. Now a days that is gold. Penn ST is in a 3-Wide shotgun
with two RB still in the backfield on 2nd down. I would be wrong, but
I’m reading run here. Look how fast Barron reads the playaction and then
the QB’s eyes. This is as fast a dissector of offenses as you will see
in college. You can’t teach that quick mindedness. Either you get it or
you don’t. How fast is he? He is on the Wrong Seam as the QB is throwing
to the RB crossing to the opposite Seam. Watch how fast he gets across the
field and makes the big hit with a wrap up tackle. I know some say he is
not a good tackler, but not a lot of guys can make a hit that knocks the
ball out with his helmet and wrap up at the same time (:52). I know I’m
going a little nuts, but I thought that this was such a great play from:
an intelligence perspective, read and recognize perspective, athletic
perspective, speed perspective, and fundamental perspective. Plus, I read
this play completely wrong, and he read it perfectly.
to two high Safety, and on the rightside. He reads pass instantly and gets
into his pedal smoothly. I like this play because it looked like the QB
threw the ball away, and Barron is the only player in proper position to
play the ball. Plus, with his injury a lot of people are questioning his
speed. This play doesn’t show his speed, but shows his range and smart
in coverage, which is sometime more important (1:17). I love this Tape.
Here he is again playing in the Box, in the Nickel, like BB has been
looking for. He gets nice coverage on the speedy RB on the Wheel route. He
breaks up the pass more with his presence than with an athletic play, but
by having the proper angle and the proper position in coverage. Again
showing consistency makes the routine play that stops drives, but
doesn’t get on Sport Center (1:27).
in the Box as a Nickel LB. It looks like he is eyeing the RB. It looks
like he read something presnap. He blitzes right off the edge and never
takes his eyes off the RB. Maybe it was luck, but he was moving before the
snap, and it sure looked like he keyed something presnap. Boom, he is
charging sideways like he is setting the edge on a run, before the RB gets
the ball. There is no doubt in my mind he read that run from start to
finish. Then he had the athleticism, speed, and agility to turn in and
tackle the RB (1:37). Smart-smart-smart. Back in the Box. Now I know the
Box safety is leaving the NFL as fast as hitting the Quarterback, but when
you have a safety who can cover the TE and RB as intelligently and
athletic as Barron playing Linebacker in the Nickel, you really have
something. Notice they are still playing two deep Safeties, so he is
playing ILB with run responsibilities. He has to read this play like a LB
and a Safety. Here, he is covering the zone vacated by the Hightower
blitz. He picks up the TE coming across the middle smoothly (1:44).
to Single high Safety. He is the last line of defense, and it is his sole
responsibility to not let a Penn State player get behind him. Notice he
keys pass and is heading deep before the ball is snapped.
Smart-smart-smart. He reads the QB’s eyes and gets into perfect
position. He doesn't get the INT, but that is a 6-6 WR, and Barron is way
up high over him taking away any chance of a reception (1:56). Does he
have hops? His shoulder is level with the leaping 6-6 WR’s head (2:05).
Is he athletic enough to cover in the NFL? Check out how he is behind the
WR. He plants his foot, re-angles, and leaps in front of the 6-6 Moyer,
and slaps the ball out of the sky. That is truly great athleticism (2:09).
in two-deep coverage. He fakes like he is coming up a little and then gets
back properly. Remember, it is his responsibility to not let the WR get
behind him. The CB is toasted by Moyer. Barron gets into position to make
a play on the ball, while the CB isn’t athletic enough to stay with
Moyer (2:15). Back at Nickel LB. he doesn’t even move. He just
diagnoses. Finally the TE crosses in front of him so he covers him. He is
a little behind but still has nice position behind the TE, with the CB
covering in front of the TE (2:25). He shows his Safety instincts here, as
he plays it a little safer than maybe he should have, but that is luxury
criticism from the sideline (2:05). Safeties have to dance that thin line
between good position and giving up a long TD.
to two-deep coverage. He takes two miss-steps. He obviously didn’t read
it quickly enough, but he never went back into full pedal. He half pedaled
while he diagnosed the play. Then he is move in run support. Notice he is
moving towards the RB, but cautiously. He knows he is the last line of
defense. He can’t let the RB get behind him. He gets position
cautiously, and then tackles aggressively. Besides the two false steps,
which are more than understandable as he knows his primary responsibility
is to not let a player get behind him, that was very well played (2:34).
Remember as a Safety he has to dance that fine thin line between last line
of defense and the big hit.
is nothing left to say. Single high Safety means you have to get from
sideline to sideline 30-50 yards down field. He is the last line of
defense, and he certainly doesn’t let his mates down (2:42). Okay, I
don’t know what his Forty time is so I won’t call him fast. But that
blur from the left side of the screen has some serious range in center
field (2:34). He is 20-yards away the play when it begins. And he just
leaps in front of the WR and grabs the ball out of the air. That is not an
easy INT to make form Centerfield (3:07).
Negatives (Well, we’ll see if we can positive this up a little;-). Okay,
Single high Safety, means he has a LOT of field to protect. He has proper
position. However, it looks like he took a bit of bad angle. The QB made a
nice throw, and the 6-6 Moyer makes the play. However, he did prevent any
more yardage from occurring. Nice play, not great, but nice (3:16). Two
deep zone. You can see he is keying run. He goes into a sprinter stance
before the snap. He charges towards the RB. He makes the right read, gets
into nice position, but just whiffs on the RB in traffic. He runs into the
ORT protecting the Sideline just as the RB cuts back. Proper position.
Proper play (3:27). It’s those are the two most negative plays of the
Penn St game, that is pretty good.
back to the positives (I was getting worried;-). Back to Nickel
Linebacker. He clearly has coverage responsibilities on the RB. His usual
responsibility as the Nickel LB. He picks him up nicely, but the QB never
looks his way (3:37). Back in Cover-Two again. He sees it so fast. Watch
how he jumps and yells (I imagine run), and takes off to the left and
angles down field as the trick play goes to opposite side. The QB holds
the ball however, and tricks him (and me for that matter;-). He also
tricks most of the defense (that’s why they call it trickeration;-).
However, he gets back into the play, and what do I always say, “If you
want to win in the NFL you have to hit the Quarterback," and
Man-alive! He hits the Quarterback. He not only recovers from his (and
my;-) bad read, he knocks the ball out and saves the day (3:47). That is a
Now, this is
interesting. He is creeping up the line playing Slot Safety. He is going
to cover that WR in the Slot. Not an easy thing for a Safety to do, but in
the new NFL it is something every Safety has to do more-and-more. Not bad,
nice pedal. He three-quarters it a little like he is protecting the
outside. But the WR cuts inside and the QB sees a Safety on his slot
receiver and goes to him (3:58). Mike Mayock ask Saban if he thought
Barron had the hips to cover. Saban, “I don't think there's any doubt
about it. Mark
is a very gifted guy,"
Saban Said at Alabama's Proday.
"First of all, he's a great competitor. He's a very good leader. He's
got tremendous toughness. He can play in the Box, or in the deep part of
the field. Even though he's long, and sometimes doesn't look as smooth as
another guy covering. Because he's so long, he's almost like a Swing
forward playing the Point Guard. Now all of a sudden this guy [the PG he's
guarding] can't make all these passes. And he bats a lot of balls down,
and covers people because of his length, and I think he can cover people."
I know he’s his college coach so he has to say that, I need some proof.
I like the pedal, protecting the outside. (4:09). Look at him open those
hips, and boom break to the middle of the field (4:12). Then he cuts in
front of the WR, he has that great knack for cutting in front of the WR
it is amazing. He definitely has the hips, and the knack for breaking on
the ball all Safeties need in the new NFL.
to Cover-Two. Only he disguised coverage, and he actually has man responsibility
on the Tight End. Something he will definitely have to do in the new NFL.
He looks to jam the TE, but is is to late. This is an amazingly athletic
play. Watch how he gets over-aggressive and gets on the wrong side of the
TE’s body. He somehow swings around the TE. Literally runs a circle
around him, and gets back into position to make a play on the ball. That
is an easy flag, but an amazing recovery when he crossed the fine line and
got too aggressive, and almost got away with it (4:17). Here he is
creeping up behind Hightower to take his place in coverage. He sees
Hightower flush the QB out of the pocket, and splits through traffic to
get to the sideline. He reads it so fast he is in on the play again with
smarts and speed (4:27).
mean, just really nice coverage on the Jerk Route in the Slot. That is a
very difficult route to cover. Great play on the ball in great coverage
(4:38). Back at Slot Safety covering the Slot receiver. He reads it perfectly
and gets into position smoothly. Nice coverage (4:44). Here he is telling his
mates in the secondary where to go. It looks like the play action led to
an easy Touchdown. But Barron never looses his perfect position (4:55).
Both Linebackers miss read it, but you can see Barron reads it perfectly
from the snap (5:03/04).
high Safety. He keys the Slot receiver and has to move over to cover him.
Tennessee rushes and he is a hair out of position, and on the wrong side of
that fine thin line, and when you get too aggressive on that fine thin
line and the rest of the defense screws up, you give up the long TD
(5:12). Nickel Linebacker. He reads run, but keys the slanting O-Line as
an outside run, but hey are running a Counter. He uses his nice agility to
get back into the play and make the tackle. This isn’t a negative play
but an excellent play. Everyone else on the defense was followed by the
Countering O-Line. He over ran the play a little, but was the only one who read it
they are in the Prevent, and he is in the Slot. Defenders are not going to
look good in the Prevent when a team runs the ball. He maintained good
position, and then got juked. Not great, but not bad either (5:34). Okay,
how is that a negative play. He was playing high safety. Keyed run. Came up
field and took on the blocker, and made the tackle. That was very well
done (5:42). So he got a little face mask. I though he played that real
well (he just got a finger caught on the facemask 5:55;-). Slot Safety.
Again, not an easy place for the safety to be, but something he has to do
new NFL. Okay, gets juked by a nice move. I like how he got back into the
play. If the WR had caught the ball he wasn’t going anywhere. That’s
why recovery speed and quickness is so important. DBs are going to get
in the open field by WRs. The question is can you get yourself back into
the play when you are beat. He did, nice play (6:02).
here’s Auburn. I watched this game, and he made some real nice plays in
this game. Here is changing the defense when the WR goes in motion. This
play really shows who the leader of this defense was. He reads the screen
and destroys it (6:11). He reads the run, gets up field fast, and makes
the big hit (6:21). Reads it creeps up and blitzes like a linebacker when
he is the Nickel LB (6:31). Reads the play, even gives a signal. He is the
last line of defense so he has to keep his position. He plays the angle
LB. Real nice play. He reads the End-Around. Takes the hit from the
blocking WR, and still makes the play to the opposite side of the field
play. He has the Slot receiver. When he motions out he reads the option
perfectly and tackles the Quarterback (7:02). Then he gives up a few long
passes, and shows what happens when you are the last line of defense and
you make a mistake. That is the responsibility he has on most plays.
Few Notes and Quotes (but I can't remember were I pilfered them;-):
safety, athletic, smart, rare size and frame. Runs the show in a difficult
defense to absorb. Very good kid. No issues. Coaches love him and trust
him. Immediate starter wherever he goes. Injury is the only way he is
available at 20.” - “We
played in a very difficult defense, first of all,” Barron said. “We
did a lot of different schemes. As far as communicating, I had a lot to do
with that on the back end. I feel like sometimes I brought some energy
with the hits that I made and things of that nature. So, I did a lot of
different things.” “He
can cover tight ends,” ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay said of Barron.
“I need him to cover Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez and he can do
that.” - “I feel like it’s
very hard for us safeties to get in the first round, so I think that shows
you that the position of safety is being undervalued,” Barron said.
“… If a guy’s a good player, then he’s just a good player. I
don’t see why, position-wise, if you have a better player that’s a
safety and then you have a corner that might not be a better football
player, I don’t see a reason why the corner should go ahead of the
safety. I’ve seen it happen. I just don’t understand it but that’s
not my position to pick.” - “People
are going to draft off what they see on film,” he said. “… Mark
Barron is a big, tough, instinctive safety. He’s got size, he can play
in the box and he can play deep.”
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