Barkevious is one of the hardest working players on the field for every down in every game he plays. He shows on film to have a quick burst off the line, good foot speed and excellent change of direction skills along with the right size to play more than one position on the defense for the team that drafts him. He has solid overall instincts, football intelligence and looks to be an excellent teammate. Barkevious has the size and length the NFL teams are looking for in a pass rusher to go along with his natural athletic skills, which will make teams very interested in drafting him early in this draft. Right now, he plays with his hand down most of the time in different fronts, but he has the overall talent to drop off the line in pass coverage. Barkevious has excellent mental stamina and football intelligence. On the field, Barkevious plays with the effort and enthusiasm of a Teddy Bruschi, and has the size and athletic talents of a Jason Taylor. The problem is that he doesn't have their strength.
Barkevious is skinny and lacks the strength to finish plays and make tackles. Mentally, he seems to be very happy as a disrupter. I have seen him up against double teams, and even triple teams, and he handles himself well; however, once he beats the player or players blocking him, it's like he's playing flag football and doesn't finish the play. It's almost as if he looks at a spot on the field and says to himself that he wants to get to that spot as quickly as possible and when he does, that's good enough. He runs players down from behind, but only after they have gone past the line of scrimmage. Some of that has to do with his responsibility assignment and some of it is waiting for someone else to make the play. He doesn't wrap up very well and most of the time, running backs break his tackles at the college level. I don't understand why Barkevious hasn't gotten any stronger from the first time I saw him play.
Barkevious is relentless. He is like that dog chewing on your favorite slipper and when you go to take it away from him, he teases you with it thinking you're playing a game. Unfortunately, at the strength level Barkevious is at right now, he will never hold up for a 16 game schedule as a starter. He may in the future, but for his first year, teams will have to build this kid up to handle the pounding at the next level. After you build him up, you have to hope it doesn't affect his speed and quickness. Then, after that, you are going to have to use a cattle prod to change this kid's mentality so that he will wrap up and finish plays. If you choose to use him as a OLB in a 3-4 defense, he must become a better open field tackler and, once again, will have to be able to make sacks. Let me tell you, I doubt that he will be able to sack a big, strong QB in the NFL at his current size and strength. Those QB's will flick him off like a fly on a piece of fruit. The key for me in drafting a player like this is the fact that his effort on every play is outstanding and I can see how a lot of teams will want to select him very early in this draft for that reason alone. But like that dog with the slipper, unless he can get stronger, become a better tackler and finish plays, Barkevious will just be a tease -- always around the play, but missing the tackle on the most important play of the game.
Drew “ The B.S. Detector” Boylhart