New Detroit Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes is a player head coach Dan Campbell relates to, based on his "old-school" mentality.
"He's dependable, he's tough, and really, he's only been a stack backer for a year. He's got so much room to grow. He's got an old-school mentality about him." Campbell said in a recent Sirius XM interview. "He's already reached out to me. He wants to be 55. How throwback is 55 for an inside linebacker? It's so beautiful.
"But, yet, he's a damn good athlete. This kid can run. You know? He's got an old-school mentality, but he's a new-age athlete. He can run, he's tough, he's smart, he's got 34-inch arms. So, he comes downhill, and he can shed blocks," Campbell commented further. "Look, he'll have a little bit of growing pains, but we all think he can develop into something special. There again, his character just reeks of success."
Prior to this year's draft, the theme emanating from the Lions organization was drafting players who loved football, who demonstrated grit and who could easily fit into the new culture of the team.
At first glance, Barnes fits the criteria quite well.
“I would just say that just me personally as a player, I love to be on the field, I love to contribute to the team. I love to do what the coach asks me to do. And if they, you know, you’re a football player. So, being versatile is huge in the NFL, and I’m glad I can bring that to the table," Barnes said after being drafted by the Lions. "Playing defensive end was awesome, playing linebacker was awesome. I’m just ready to take it to the NFL and do whatever the coaches ask me to do. Just ready to get to work and you know, come to Detroit and do what I’ve been doing so far and even better. So, I’m excited about that.”
Barnes, 21, noticeably has a large Lions tattoo that covers his chest.
"My favorite animal," he said. "I think the lion is the king of the jungle. Heart of a lion, that’s what I say I have. You know, loyalty, just power, and just leadership. I think that’s all the strengths I grew up having. Always been a fan of the lion."