One of the hottest “sleeper” names in the rookie IDP fantasy football world is former LSU linebacker, Lamin Barrow, who got drafted by the Denver Broncos. I decided to take a look for myself to see what all the fuss was about. I reviewed three of his games against Georgia in 2013, then also 2012 games versus Mississippi State and Arkansas. I did not come away overly impressed, but let’s discuss what skills he brings to the NFL. Sometimes in IDP fantasy football, situation can overcome talent.
The young linebacker lined up in all four linebacker positions in LSU’s 3-4 scheme. What jumped out to me right away is that Barrow doesn’t have good vision or the instincts to understand where the ball would flow. He did a lot of trailing the play five to ten yards down the field to make the tackle. This is because when Barrow steps up to make the tackle, he would have difficulty disengaging from the blocker often. Too many times, the linebacker got caught up in the line of scrimmage taking a bad angle and got washed out of the play. Barrow is quite athletic though, using spin moves to disengage with blockers on running plays. It worked for him, but this would allow the ball carrier more yardage before he could make the tackle. The linebacker also has a bad habit of leaving his feet to make the tackle, instead of wrapping them up. He mostly lead with his shoulder, but the NFL frowns on leaving your feet and when someone needs to generate power that way, it questions if he has the strength and power to play the position.
In the passing game, Barrow is a better defender. He drops back into pass coverage quickly and does a decent job shadowing running backs and tight ends for the first ten yards, using handling backs out of the flat. The linebacker has decent quickness, good balance, and moves laterally quite well. When asked to rush the passer, Barrow can get good initial pressure, but I did not see any pass rush maneuvers that he used to separate himself from blockers. With the limited games I had access to; I think he could be a third down backer and a special teams player. The Broncos don’t have an overabundance of riches at linebacker, so he could see some early action. I feel that Barrow could be someone to place on your taxi squad for the year to see if he develops, but his upside looks limited for 2014.
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