Nov 6, 2010; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide cornerback Mark Barron (4) lines up against the LSU Tigers during the first half at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

2012 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Alabama S Mark Barron

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.

Previously:

South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore

Stanford G David DeCastro

Syracuse DE Chandler Jones

Stanford OT Jonathan Martin

Alabama CB Dre Kirkpatrick

North Carolina DE Quinton Coples 

Alabama LB Courtney Upshaw

Iowa OT Riley Reiff

Boston College LB Luke Kuechly

South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram

Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon

Georgia G/T Cordy Glenn

Notre Dame WR Michael Floyd

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