A recent ESPN Insider piece identified one player from each team that is its most underutilized. With the help of Pro Football Focus, none other than Shaquil Barrett was named as the Denver Broncos player the team doesn’t get on the field enough.
Pro Football Focus: Rushing the passer 91 times this season, Barrett has two sacks, a hit and 11 hurries. His pass-rushing productivity rating of 12.1 ranks seventh among 3-4 outside linebackers. -- Pro Football Focus
NFL Nation: There is absolutely no question the Broncos like what Barrett brings to the defense, and his maximum effort sack of Drew Brees this past Sunday was just more proof of that. But he also happens to play at the deepest position on the depth chart for what many believe is consistently the best pass-rushing team in the league. Barrett plays outside linebacker, and so do Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware and Shane Ray. Miller is third in the league in sacks, Ware is a member of the league's 100-sack club and Ray is a former first-round pick who is third on the team in sacks with four. That doesn't leave much room for Barrett, no matter how productive he is. With Ware ready to play far more after his return from missing five games with a fractured forearm, that could limit Barrett's opportunities more. But defensive coordinator Wade Phillips will continue to use Barrett as a change of pace and to give Miller a rest during games. -- Jeff Legwold
The Broncos have an embarrassing amount of talent at outside linebacker. The way they rotate defenders enables them to keep all four of their elite-level pass rushers fresh through the entire game.
In that context, it is hard to say Barrett is “underutilized”. However, he is good enough to wonder how many other teams he could be the centerpiece of its pass rushing scheme.
I’m quite happy with how things work right now.