The Green Bay Packers’ defensive line simply was not good enough in 2020. Not even close. In 2019, Kenny Clark made the Pro Bowl following a season highlighted by six sacks, nine tackles for losses and seven quarterback hits. In 2020, Clark, Dean Lowry and Tyler Lancaster combined for five sacks, five tackles for losses and 10 quarterback hits.
According to Pro Football Focus, Clark had 62 quarterback pressures in 2019. All nine defensive linemen to get playing time in 2020 recorded 77 pressures, led by Clark plunging to 28. Kingsley Keke showed some promise but all four sacks, all three tackles for losses and half of his eight quarterback hits came in two games. Montravius Adams, a third-round flop, signed with New England in free agency. With that, the Packers could use another impact defensive lineman. Unfortunately, it is a paper-thin draft class.
Alabama’s Christian Barmore is our No. 1-ranked defensive lineman.
Christian Barmore, a native of the Philadelphia suburb of Tacony, Pa., attended three high schools. When the second one, a charter school, closed, he landed at Neumann-Goretti – located about 90 minutes from his home. His senior year was his only season as a varsity player.
One wrecking-ball season was enough to get him to Alabama. One wrecking-ball season for the Crimson Tide could be enough to make him a top-15 or top-20 pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
In a league starving for interior pass rushers, NFL teams will have a hard time ignoring his eight sacks in 2020.
“He’s a good pass rusher,” Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. “He gives us something inside that I think is very helpful in pass rush. It’s a role that we’ve been trying to sort of groom him for.”
The Crimson Tide’s powerhouse defense fed off of Barmore’s combination of production and personality.
“B-Mo, he brings a lot of energy,” cornerback Patrick Surtain II said. “It actually boosts up the defense with how much energy he has. He’s very tenacious. He acts like he’s angry all the time out there on the field. We need those type of dudes on the defense, especially on the D-line.”
Barmore will be a welcome addition beyond his pass-rushing skill. He was a popular player in the Alabama locker room even before he rose to stardom.
“He’s a goofy guy. He’s a character,” outside linebacker Terrell Lewis told the Tuscaloosa News in 2019. “Whenever you see Barmore in the room, you know you’re bound to laugh.”
Added safety Xavier McKinney, “I think that’s one of the guys, no matter whether he’s doing good or he’s doing bad, he’s still going to be energizing, he’s going to help us get going. He’s always been like that, that’s why we love him. Even in the locker room, even if we’re not on the field, he’s always like that. We know the energy that he brings to the field when he gets on the field.”
Entering the NFL, the question will be whether Barmore will be anything more than a pass rusher. That was his role with the Crimson Tide. He started only six games in two seasons and played in less than 40 percent of the snaps in each of his seasons. It’s not that he wasn’t good at playing the run; he just wasn’t asked to do it often.
Measureables: 6-foot-4 1/8, 310 pounds, 33 5/8-inch arms, 4.97 40, 4.75 shuttle, DNP bench press.
Stats and accolades: Barmore played in 23 games in two seasons. He was a high-impact performer with 10 sacks and 16.5 tackles for losses, including eight sacks, 9.5 TFLs, three forced fumbles and five pass deflections in 12 games (five starts) in 2020, when he was named second-team All-American. According to Pro Football Focus, he had 39 total pressures. According to Sports Info Solutions, he ranks second in the draft class among interior defenders with 3.1 pressures per game and a pressure rate of 12 percent.
NFL Draft Bible says: 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 sometime lose at the line of scrimmage 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 consistently pressure the passer.
About This Series
Packer Central is introducing you to the top prospects, both on and off the field, in this year’s NFL Draft. The series is starting with the top five at each position.