The Denver Broncos have invited undrafted free agent quarterback Eric Barriere Jr. to minicamp, according to the official Twitter account of Eastern Washington University Football.
At Eastern Washington, Barriere was one of the most electric quarterbacks in college football last season. He recorded the second-most passing touchdowns in the FCS (46) last season. In addition, Barriere has amassed 21 rushing touchdowns in his college career.
Barriere had an incredible single-game performance against Idaho last season throwing for 600 yards and SEVEN touchdowns.
Barriere won the Walter Payton Award in 2021, which is the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. Barriere was also the runner-up for the award in 2020.
Recent Walton Payton Award winners include Trey Lance, Cooper Kupp, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Taylor Heinicke.
In their draft profile, CBS Sports applauded Barriere’s speed and deep-ball accuracy.
Good top end speed. Quick release made possible with a flick of the wrist. Gets the ball out quickly. Generates a lot of strength off platform. Good deep ball accuracy. Undersized in terms of height and weight. Can drive the ball.
However, they also expressed concerns about his pocket presence and level of competition.
Does not follow through in his throwing motion. Does not sell fakes well. Late to feel pressure, poor pocket presence. Balance is an issue. Played at a lower level of competition.
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Broncos’ Backup QB Competition
Barriere is a candidate for the Broncos’ backup quarterback job. Brett Rypien and Josh Johnson are the two options on the roster, right now.
Rypien has been solid in limited NFL action. He started a game against the New York Jets in 2020. He completed 19 out of 31 passes for 242 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions, as the Broncos defeated the Jets 37-28.
Johnson carries a lot of NFL experience. Since entering the league in 2008, he has been on 14 different teams.
Last season, Johnson got an opportunity to play for the Jets in their Week 9 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts, and he looked sharp. Johnson completed 27 out of 41 passes for 317 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
Johnson also started a game for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, and he completed 28 out of 40 passes for 304 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
Based purely on their performance on the field, Johnson should be the favorite to win the job.
Barriere Could Be a Practice Squad Addition
Out of the Broncos’ three backup quarterback options, Barriere certainly carries the most upside, but at the moment, he appears to have only gotten an invite to minicamp. Therefore, he seems like a long shot to eclipse both Rypien and Johnson on the depth chart.
However, if Barriere plays well, I would not be surprised to see him land on the practice squad.
Undrafted free agents have broken through before. Ravens’ quarterback Tyler Huntley was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2020. He spent time on the team’s practice squad before eventually becoming the backup quarterback.
Given his production in college, Barriere is a player to watch this offseason.