The 2021 NFL Draft season is finally upon us. Football, for now, is over. All eyes will turn to the offseason as 32 franchises attempt to build their teams up to championship-caliber squads.
Among those teams will be the Jacksonville Jaguars, who hold 11 picks in this year's draft -- including the No. 1 overall pick. The Jaguars are entering a new era under Head Coach Urban Meyer, and the 2021 draft will serve as a catalyst to the Jaguars’ rebuild moving into the future.
As we march closer and closer to April’s draft, we will look at individual draft prospects and how they would potentially fit with the Jaguars. Instead of looking at any negatives, we are going to look at what the players do well and if they could match what the Jaguars need at the specific role or position.
Now, we focus on Alabama defensive tackle Christian Barmore. Barmore is one of the top defensive tackles in this year's class, but just how well would he fit with the Jaguars?
A four-star recruit in the 2018 recruiting class, Barmore redshirted his first year with Alabama. As a redshirt freshman, he played in a rotational role for the Crimson Tide, recording 6.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, and two pass deflections.
Entering 2020 with considerable hype, Barmore didn't fail to impress. In his first year with a fully expanded role, Barmore started off a bit slow due to a knee injury at the beginning of the season but quickly grew into one of Alabama's best playmakers on defense.
In 2020, Barmore recorded 9.5 tackles for loss, 8.0 sacks, and three forced fumbles, earning first-team All-SEC honors. He was named Defensive MVP of the National Championship after recording a sack and two tackles for loss.
What Christian Barmore Does Well
When watching the Crimson Tide defense, it doesn't take long to pick out Christian Barmore. He has a stout and massive frame and looks like a prototypical defensive tackle with long arms. At 6-foot-5 and 310 pounds, Barmore more than looks the part.
Once the ball is snapped, Barmore looks even more so the part. He is explosive off the line of scrimmage and has a surprising amount of quickness and straight-line speed for his size, giving him the ability to shoot through gaps.
Due to his athleticism, he does a good job of closing in on ball-carriers and quarterbacks once he is able to track them down in space. He has more range than one would likely assume he possesses as well, showing off impressive lateral agility.
As a run defender, Barmore is best at using his strength and length. He isn't a finished product as a penetrating run defender, as evidenced by his low tackles for loss numbers, but he also doesn't get blown off the ball.
Against the run, Barmore does a good job of anchoring at the line of scrimmage and freeing linebackers up behind him. Whether this is by out leveraging the blocker or by pressing them off his frame with his length, he simply does a good job of getting in the way. In essence, he is able to provide resistance against the run even if he wasn't making plays in the backfield.
Where Barmore will earn his money and make the biggest splash, however, is as a pass-rusher. He has already shown the ability to blow through both single blocks and double teams thanks to his explosion and strength. He isn't completely developed in terms of his consistency with counter moves, but he can create easy separation from blockers immediately off the snap.
He plays like a bull in a china shop, and on third-downs it is incredibly hard to stop that bull from wreaking havoc. Whether it is by ripping through guards and centers with fast and active hands or bowling them over with his power, Barmore has shown that he can get to the quarterback in a number of ways.
How Christian Barmore Would Fit With the Jaguars
Barmore's best span of performances came in Alabama's final three games, the three most important games on Alabama's schedule in 2020. This is what should especially excite NFL teams, knowing that Barmore's best football is yet to come and he is just scratching the surface. He had a somewhat slow start to the season, but he was a dominant force in the SEC Championship and in each College Football Playoff game.
Barmore will go stretches without making an impact play, but there aren't many instances of him truly "losing" a rep. Considering his ceiling, this is just the type of player the Jaguars should consider investing a pick in at pick No. 25 or beyond. He isn't a finished product and still has a ways to go to develop, but it isn't like his tape is littered with poor play.
In terms of his fit with the Jaguars' scheme, Barmore would likely be right at home in defensive coordinator Joe Cullen's front. Barmore played all over the defensive line for Alabama, taking reps at nose tackle, three-technique, and five-technique.
Thanks to his blend of power, length, and athleticism, Barmore could feasibly plan any of these spots in the NFL. Versatility is highly valued along Cullen's defensive line, so seeing Barmore perform well in each of these roles at Alabama is encouraging.
Ultimately, the Jaguars simply need an interior defensive lineman who can be a force in the middle of the defense and make plays. Barmore is a moldable defensive lineman with a Pro Bowl ceiling who could realistically develop into that kind of player rather quickly. He may not have the pass-rush ability or consistency of other top defensive tackle sack artists, but he projects as a player who can push the pocket, open things up for those around him, and blow through double teams.
Barmore isn't a sure thing due to his limited college experience and somewhat inconsistent streaks of projection, but he is an immensely talented defensive tackle prospect. Considering the Jaguars have a need at all interior defensive line spots and badly need a pass-rusher up the middle, Barmore has the appearance of a prospect the Jaguars should be high on.
It remains to be seen if Barmore will fall to pick No. 25 considering this year's defensive tackle class is regarded as one of the draft's weaker position groups. Barmore's tape suggests he is a player who should be picked around No. 25 overall, but the lack of top defensive tackle prospects may force him up the board for some teams.
Ultimately, Barmore should be in strong consideration by the Jaguars if he falls to their second pick. He would fill a need, fits the scheme, and has high upside. He is a safer bet than the last first-round defensive tackle they drafted, too.