Editor’s Note: As we get ready for the 2012 NFL Draft, we’ll be “meeting” some players who just might find their way to Buffalo come April. In this series we’ll take a look at possible Bills draft picks and break down their abilities and potential.
Overview: Barron was the “quarterback” of Alabama’s incredible national championship team in 2011. How early in the first round will this big hitter come off the board?
Strengths: Led an outstanding Alabama defense as a senior. Excellent production in college, racking up 12 INTs and a ton of tackles and big plays. Prototypical size for an NFL strong safety at 6’1, 213. Long arms and huge hands. Smart – Alabama ran a pretty complex defense for a college team and relied on Barron to be in charge. Really good instincts and almost always in the right place at the right time. Outstanding against the run – takes great angles and rarely misses a tackle. Outstanding fundamentals. Works really hard and has a great attitude. Slightly above-average straight line speed. Will be able to cover NFL tight ends and running backs.
Weaknesses: Durability is a real concern. Just recovered from a double hernia surgery and had a torn pectoral muscle as a sophomore. Had a really good sophomore and senior season but a pretty underwhelming junior campaign. Struggles to change direction quickly and won’t be able to cover better NFL wide receivers. A bit overaggressive at times – will overrun the play or go for the big hit and miss. Some minor brushes with the law, but nothing too concerning.
How He’d Fit in Buffalo: This is a hard one for me, as George Wilson and Jairus Byrd are two of my all-time favorite Bills…but Barron would probably start from day one as a Bill. Likely in Wilson’s spot at strong safety. Safety is not a need position at all for the Bills, but Wilson is in his 30s and Byrd is a free agent after this season, so it couldn’t hurt to bring in more talent.
The Bottom Line: I’m sure a lot of people would grumble if the Bills took Barron. After all, the Bills really don’t need a safety. But Barron is the type of player Buddy Nix loves: a productive, experienced defensive player from a big-time college program. Don’t be shocked if he’s very high on Nix’s draft board and don’t be shocked if Barron is Buffalo’s pick.