There's been a lot of talk about whether Christian Barmore should be a first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He's clearly the best defensive tackle available this year, although as a whole it's considered a very bad year for the position group.
The knock on him is that he's not considered the most coachable player. Barmore missed the start of the season due to a knee injury, and it took time for things to click.
However, he sure didn't look it when Alabama was making its push for the national title.
The bottom line with Barmore, and the reason why he could easily be selected in the first round on Thursday night, is that when he's on the defensive lineman is the closest thing to an un-blockable player in this year's draft.
"People are willing to take chances on guys like that if you look at the trends, and you look at the system he came out of and coached by," former NFL and college head coach Jim Mora Jr. said. "You’re getting someone who is ready-made for the NFL.
"Defensive line is a premium position, not necessarily nose tackle with the other three if you’re talking about a 4-3 defense, and someone who has versatility, has shown to be a good player. People are going to take a chance on him and they’re hoping for the boom. If they get the bust, well, maybe the bust isn’t so bad. Maybe the bust is he becomes a backup player."
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Arms: 33 5/8
• Named third team All-American by the Associated Press
• Named first- and second-team All-American by outlets the NCAA does not use in determining unanimous and consensus status (CBS Sports, Pro Football Focus and USA Today)
• First-team All-SEC honors from both the AP and league coaches
• Recorded 37 tackles, including a team-high eight sacks to rank second in the SEC during shortened 2020 season. Had added 9.5 tackles for loss, six quarterback pressures, broke up three passes while forcing a team-high three fumbles.
• Selected as the Defensive Most Valuable Player in the CFP National Championship Game. Had five tackles, including two for a loss and a sack.
What they said ...
Lance Zierlein, NFL.com: Attack-oriented defensive tackle with a big body, violent hands and the talent to work his way around blocks and find the football. Barmore tends to be in the lead and take control of a majority of reps. His hands and feet sing in harmony and allow him to stay active and free from attempts to sustain blocks against him. His hands are heavy and powerful but also sudden and efficient, which creates early win opportunities for him in the run game and as a pass rusher. Barmore can be his own worst enemy when he freestyles his run fits and prematurely gives away positioning when posting up in read-and-react mode. He’s exceptional at finding a blocker’s edge and swiping past the outside hand to bring the ruckus inside the pocket. While he has similar size and skill set, it doesn’t feel like he’s as long at the point of attack as past Alabama defensive tackles now in the pros. Barmore’s explosive first step, violent hands and upper-body power are the ingredients of a three-down defender with the versatility to play a number of positions in an even or odd front as an impactful rookie starter.
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: "There is a lot of ability there. You saw the good stuff at the end of the year that gets you fired up, and then I could point out some games in the early or middle part of the season where he doesn't look like the same guy. Just a little bit up and down with him, but he's one of those ones if you hit, you hit big."
NFL Draft Bible: The Philadelphia native was part of a rotation in his two seasons at Alabama, allowing him to stay fresh and play with a high motor. Barmore has the length to get into the chest of blockers and the leg drive to bull-rush them, which is a fantastic baseline to have on the interior. He is able to win with his strong and violent hands that allow him to deconstruct and keep his frame clean. When he locks out and plays at extension, he does well to control gaps and make plays up and down the line of scrimmage. Barmore is an above-average athlete with solid burst and some stiffness to him. He can lose off the line in the run game as he does not play with a low enough pad level to consistently gain leverage on blockers. He projects best as a power rushing defensive tackle who can pressure the passer consistently. Getting quicker with his hands and developing more of a pass-rush plan is key for someone who will undoubtedly be better in year two than year one. Barmore is a bit of a project, but has exciting pass-rush potential as well as two-gapping abilities in the run game thanks to his effort and strength. If Barmore is able to put it all together, he projects favorably as an upper-echelon interior rusher who is just now scratching the surface of what he could be.
Draft projection: Late first round
This is the 12th in a series of Crimson Tide profiles for the 2021 NFL Draft