The Denver Broncos haven’t wasted any time digging through prospects at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium this week. More than a handful of Draft prospects have been grilled, interviewed and otherwise utterly examined for their suitability on our favorite team.
It seems that the Broncos Scouting department is poring over nearly all the Defensive Tackle, Cornerback and Wide Receiver prospects at the Combine, so we are going to endeavor to bring you up to date on as many as possible. Here is one of them, brought to you via Andrew Mason.
Georgia Tech DT T.J. Barnes said he's spoken with the #Broncos. Measured at 6-foot-6.2 & 369 pounds. Down from 378 2 wks. ago, he said.— Andrew Mason (@MaseDenver) February 23, 2013
Mase goes on, adding
DT T.J. Barnes projects as a 1- or zero-tech. Wants to play at 350 lbs (369 now). Not much on pass rush, but at 6-6, can knock down passes.
T.J. Barnes is ranked 18th out of 212 Defensive Tackle prospects and 200th overall in the 2013 Draft. His pre-Combine 40 Time is listed as 5.28 seconds and he projects as a 6th round draft pick.
#90 T.J. Barnes
Born June 14, 1990 (22)
Major: Business Management
Arm Length-34 3/4"
Hand Length-10 1/4"
20 yd Shuttle-
Barnes was a solid back-up at Nose Tackle behind starter Logan Walls for the last three seasons. A man of tremendous size, T.J. played as a redshirt freshman in 2009 behind two starting tackles (Darryl Richard and Vance Walker) who are now in the NFL. He played a total 53 games for the Yellow Jackets, racking up 75 Tackles, 8.5 Tackles For Loss, 2.5 Sacks and 4 Pass Breakups. That may not sound like much, but he was a backup for 3 years and a rotational player in the 4th. Plus, the Nose Tackle is a position that does a lot of the dirty work without generating fancy stats.
As a Junior (2011), T.J. played in all 13 games as the top back-up at Defensive Tackle (Georgia Tech played the 3-4 and the 4-3 during his career). He recorded 11 Tackles, 1.5 TFL’s and one Sack.
In 2010, he played in 12 games and started one (vs. Miami), recording 20 Tackles, 0.5 Tackles For Loss and one Pass Breakup. Barnes had at least one Tackle in every game he played and registered a career-high 5 Tackles in the GT victory at North Carolina.
After Redshirting and playing on the scout team in 2008, Barnes showed great promise as a backup Defensive Tackle while playing in all 14 games during the 2009 campaign. He made his first career start vs. Clemson in the ACC Championship Game. T.J.’s role increased as the season progressed and he made 16 Tackles, 1.5 TFL’s and a Quarterback Hurry. He recorded a then career-high 4 Tackles in the win over Virginia Tech.
NFL.COM DRAFT GRade-52.0
Few prospects are born with the size of Barnes, but the biggest issue is finding a position that fits such a mammoth sized player. For Barnes, it was Nose Tackle in the Yellow Jackets three man front. He played behind Vance Walker, a current NFL player, who helped shape the interior behemoth to the player he is today.
CBSSports adds that T.J. was selected Honorable Mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference (Coaches selection) for the 2012 college football season.
JasonB over at Bleeding Green Nation has a scouting report on T.J. Barnes
Strengths: He's just a giant. He doesn't show up on the stat sheet a lot, but he does eat up blockers and fill space, which is a big part of what you look for a NT to do. He was a backup for 3 seasons but dropped a lot of weight prior to last year and got the starting job when DT Logan Walls graduated. Was named All-ACC honorable mention for 2012.
Weaknesses: There are certainly questions as to whether he's athletic enough to be a 3 down lineman in the NFL. He doesn't seem to be a plug and play in year one kind of guy, but could potentially be developed into a good space eater if he continues to get stronger and still slim down some more.
Pro Comparison: Paul Soliai - He would probably represent the ceiling for Barnes, which would be great BTW. Solai was a better prospect coming out than Barnes is, but it's hard to find guys with his kind of size to compare to.
Georgia Tech Football: TJ Barnes
If the Broncos are looking at T.J. Barnes it is because as coach John Fox told me in his first fan teleconference, he likes them (Defensive Linemen) big. "The bigger the better." Those were his words. While Denver doesn’t exactly run a 3-4 personnel look, they aren’t running a true 3-4 either. They actually have an offset 4-3, where a Nose Tackle (0 or 1 Tech). a 3 tech, a 5 tech, and Elvis Dumervil, who lines up wide at the 7 technique position. There are other variations such as when Von Miller takes a position on the line or when the Base defense lines up in a more straight-up 4-3, but the nose Tackle would get quite a bit of situational work in the Broncos Defense. It also affords some scheme versatility from opponent to opponent, when they need to plug the middle against one of the better running teams in the league.
The Broncos will face the likes of Arian Foster, the Patriots (who ran for 251 yards on us last season), Jamaal Charles, the tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, Doug Martin, Darren McFadden, Ray Rice and Trent Richardson and a guy who could take on two run blockers and clog up the middle, could make a huge impact in stopping those rushing attacks as Denver poises itself for a deeper postseason run in 2013.
For a sixth round draft prospect, Barnes might be worth developing.
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