A very Merry Draftmas to you!
We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 29th. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs enter the 2021 NFL Draft with a few needs — and linebacker is high on many fans’ wish lists. With Anthony Hitchens locked in at the MIKE and Willie Gay Jr. tipped to play as the WILL linebacker, the Chiefs are looking at a combination of Darius Harris and Ben Niemann to play the SAM linebacker role. However, the depth at the linebacker position is questionable, and an upgrade may be viewed as necessary in the first half of the draft.
Derrick Barnes, linebacker
6’0” | 238 lbs | Purdue
Expected draft range: Day Two
Pro Day: 4.58 40-yard dash, 37” vertical jump, 119” broad jump, 29 bench press, 4.32 short shuttle
One-sentence bio: Three year starter at Purdue that played defensive end in 2019 and MIKE linebacker in 2020
One-sentence scouting report: High IQ linebacker with powerful hands and quick mental processing that has terrific coverage instincts
Derrick Barnes, Purdue - #55, 6'1", 245 pounds— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) February 16, 2021
- Versatile, played EDGE in 2019, MIKE in 2020
- Violent hands, stacks and rips through OL with ease
- Good burst, converts explosion through blocks/ballcarrier
- High IQ and quick play ID
- Comfortable in coverage w/ good route ID pic.twitter.com/qA9Jhdwvra
How he fits in Kansas City: Barnes is a Steve Spagnuolo dream come true. He has the ability to stack and shed offensive linemen from the second level — a requirement to play serious snaps in this defense. He has exceptionally quick play identification and doesn’t need help reading the blocker and getting to the gap. He also reads the quarterback’s eyes well from his hook zone drops, putting himself in throwing lanes and taking away routes in the middle of the field.
On top of all of that, Barnes is a terrific blitzer from his time as a defensive end — and could immediately offer pass rush upside as an on-the-line SAM linebacker. His heavy hands and big hitting ability would help set the tone on early downs, slotting him in as a Day 1 base down linebacker. Barnes would also have quality special-teams ability in his first year, giving the Chiefs value in several different phases of the game. While some natural hip-tightness will prevent him from being an ultra-rangy MIKE linebacker, his mental processing and density would surely give Spagnuolo a candidate to replace Hitchens as the MIKE in the future.
KC Draft Guide
The 2021 version of the KC Draft Guide is available for pre-order! Use promo code “takeitback” to get 225-plus detailed prospect write-ups for only $8.99!
The 2021 KC Draft Guide provides a one-stop shop that shows how the top college prospects fit with your Kansas City Chiefs. This digital download will include detailed analysis and profiles of hundreds of prospects, player comps, scheme-fit analysis, a Chiefs draft pick trade chart, features, a mock draft and more! The guide releases April 5.
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