NFL Draft’s Potential Patriots: Alabama S Mark Barron
|02.19.12 at 3:32 pm ET|
WEEI.com will continue to offer daily insight and analysis regarding options that may be available to the Patriots when it comes to the 2012 NFL draft. Here is one is a series of profiles of players who could be on the board when it’s time for the Patriots to make a selection.
Weight: 218 pounds
Achievements: Unanimous first-team All-American (2011), Jim Thorpe Award finalist (2011), Chuck Bednarik Award semifinalist (2011), first-team All-SEC (2011, 2010, 2009), All-SEC Freshman Team (2008),
What he brings: Barron is the near-consensus pick as the top safety in the draft and boasts an impressive award resume to go along with hours of game tape of him and his Alabama teammates putting on a defensive clinic throughout the 2011 season.
More importantly, though, Barron is a classic ball-hawking, center field-type safety who would play alongside Patrick Chung. Barron lacks elite straight-line speed but has great size and has earned a reputation as a big hitter who can blitz and play up in the box as well as drop back in zone coverage and has great ball skills.
Where the Patriots could get him: Round 1
Notes: Injuries remain a big issue for Barron, who many consider the top safety in the class, as he will be out of commission for up to two months while recovering from double hernia surgery. After missing the Senior Bowl, Barron will miss the scouting combine next week and likely will skip Alabama’s pro day on March 7.
If he passes the rigorous injury pre-draft injury inspection during his workouts, Barron could be off the board by the middle of Round 1. However, Barron’s stock could easily fall due to pre-draft inaction, opening the door for the Patriots to take a risk on an injury-prone defensive back, much like Ras-I Dowling in the 2011 draft.
Alabama coach Nick Saban is a good friend of Bill Belichick, who is known to trust his friends among the college ranks when drafting. So if Saban gives Belichick a positive report, the Patriots could jump on Barron if he falls to them.
Video: Here’s a good sampling of Barron’s skills from games against Florida, Penn State and Tennessee.