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Breaking Down Shaquil Barrett

Inside the Pylon’s Brandon Thorn breaks down Shaq Barrett as part of his “Under the Microscope” player series.

Arizona Cardinals v Denver Broncos Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

It’s nice to see other outlets recognize some of the under the radar players on our team. Recently, Brandon Thorn over at Inside the Pylon broke down linebacker Shaquil Barrett and put together some very thorough insights that get me excited about Barrett’s potential.

I was a big fan of Shaq when he was picked up as an undrafted free agent, and even wrote a little fanpost about him back before I joined the staff (yes I am tooting my own horn, but it’s not often that I turn out right about a player so let me enjoy this!).

Now I won’t even attempt to recap all the Thorn wrote about Barrett because he does such a great job on it, you really need to just go check it out!

I do want to highlight a couple things he mentions in the article. He initially breaks down some of the special teams plays that Barrett made and mentions how crucial playing special teams has been to Barrett’s value.

This to me speak volumes about Barrett’s character as he is willing to do the dirty work on special teams and excel at it, which has propelled him into his current situation where he will likely get a shot at starting snaps.

The other huge takeaway about Barrett is just the incredible value that he is. Guys like him are the reason we can win from now on.

According to, there are 157 outside linebackers currently listed under contract in the NFL, and Barrett’s average annual salary ranks 153rd. It can be argued that there is no better bargain on another NFL roster in 2016.

Barrett isn’t an elite athlete off the edge or in space, but he is a well-rounded player with good play strength who can consistently set the edge against the run, quickly diagnose blocking schemes, and affect the quarterback off the edge using swipe, rip, and dip moves. Barrett demonstrates the ability to play the pass as a zone defender in the curl/flats, but will struggle staying in-phase with athletic tight ends down field. He displays very good competitive toughness throughout games, consistently playing with a high motor, toughness, and physicality. Where Barrett needs the most improvement on the field is in his ability to convert speed to power more consistently, developing his pass rush plan, and honing the timing of his hand usage as a pass-rusher. If he can expand his toolbox as a pass-rusher with a couple secondary moves to counter inside there is no reason to not expect a player who can get 7-10 sacks a season as a full-time starter.

So head over to ITP and check out the full piece, and let’s talk about how much we love Shaq Barrett below!