Sam Barrington to Packers: How Does LB Fit with Green Bay?
Considering some of the unrest at inside linebacker and the depth issues at outside linebacker, the selection of Barrington fits on a number of levels.
And while seventh-round picks are rarely contributors in the NFL landscape, the Packers are somewhat of an outlier: In three of their last four drafts, a seventh-rounder—Ryan Taylor (2011), C.J. Wilson (2010) and Brad Jones (2009)—stuck on the 53-man roster and eventually contributed.
The Packers hope Barrington is just the latest late-pick success story in Green Bay.
Here's how Barrington will fit with the Packers.
Role: Depth at both linebacker positions
This pick appears to be a mirroring of D.J. Smith's release.
As you'll recall, the Packers cut Smith before the draft after he failed a physical, which stemmed from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 6 of last season. With a sudden opening at the position, the Packers were able to pounce on a player who can likely play both inside and outside linebacker.
Barrington stands just 6'0" tall but weighs in the 240-250-pound range, which is a size that lends itself toward playing inside. Well-built, Barrington should be able to provide a presence and take on blockers in cluttered areas against the run.
But Barrington is also a much better athlete than his times (4.91 seconds in the 40-yard dash) would suggest, which might allow the Packers to give him a shot at rushing the passer as an edge-player in the 3-4. Green Bay drafted Illinois State pass-rusher Nate Palmer with an earlier pick, but the Packers still have depth issues at the position behind Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.
If Barrington can play both inside and out, he would join several other Packers linebackers capable of such versatility. Both Jamari Lattimore and Brad Jones are experienced and capable of playing at both areas.
As is the case with so many draft picks by general manager Ted Thompson, versatility reigns supreme in Green Bay.
Here's what Thompson had to say about Barrington, according to Bill Huber of Packer Report:
Athletic, he’s got good size. We were a little surprised that he was still available. We were able to speak to him at the Combine. He’s a very nice fellow and carries himself well. We think he’s a pretty good player and we thought he was a pretty good value.
The Packers have been fortunate to get contributing players in the seventh round of previous drafts. Considering his potential versatility to play all four linebacker positions, Barrington could be the next seventh-round steal.
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