Lions’ Derrick Barnes Studying Pair of Hall of Fame Defenders

Derrick Barnes

Getty Derrick Barnes makes a play against Minnesota.

The Detroit Lions hope Derrick Barnes can be a revelation at linebacker, and if he can, he might be able to credit his ability to study tape effectively.

After being drafted by the Lions, Barnes began to generate some big-time comparisons. While he still has plenty to prove at linebacker himself in the NFL, it’s clear Barnes already has identified some players whom he wants to emulate in order to achieve success.

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Speaking after Detroit’s rookie minicamp this past weekend, Barnes was asked about whom he might model his game after as he transitions to the NFL. The answer was a pretty special one for anybody who knows the league. As Barnes said, he watches tape on Ray Lewis and Junior Seau before he plays.

Both of those players have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame, and obviously, if the Lions could get just half of what they provided in their career out of Barnes, they would be in good shape. Most young players make it a habit to study linebackers playing the game now, but for Barnes, a couple of his favorites are from the old school.

That could be a very good thing in the end for the Lions.

Barnes Called ‘Cornerstone’ Piece for Lions

Detroit needed a linebacker to add to the mix in the draft, and while many figured they might add one quicker, Barnes still comes to the team with a great shot at making an imprint given the way folks within the organization seem to believe in him.

Just this past week, while speaking on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Lions coach Dan Campbell discussed his draft class, and his excitement about Barnes could not be held in. As he said, the team believes that Barnes could be a foundational piece for the defense and for the roster given all he can do well.

Obviously, a big reason the Lions view Barnes as a potential cornerstone type piece is his ability to prepare and be an NFL pro. That could come given this ability to understand what has made a couple of the best pros at his position super successful.

Barnes’ Stats and Highlights

Safe to say where folks are getting some of the elite comparisons. Barnes has been a productive player in the Big Ten, racking up 226 tackles, 25 tackles for-loss, 10.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 1 interception in his college career. The numbers paint the picture of a tackling machine and a guy who can get after it in between the lines and make big plays for a defense sideline to sideline. It will depend on how Detroit wants to use Barnes, but the talent is there.

Here’s a look at what the highlights show:

Derrick Barnes Purdue highlights – No musicDerrick Barnes was a relatively under-recruited player who committed to Jeff Brohm's Western Kentucky program who Brohm then brought along with him when he took the Purdue job. Barnes would break through his true sophomore season and would be an asset for the Boilermakers. He is expected to be drafted in the 2021 NFL Draft.2021-04-19T23:11:37Z

Will Barnes become a guy who turns himself into a player like either Seau, Lewis or another successful NFL linebacker? That remains to be seen, but it’s clear he is doing everything he can to emulate what made those players a success on the field.

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