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2021 NFL Draft Scouting Spotlight: Alabama DT Christian Barmore

A rising defensive tackle who was co-MVP of the national championship.

With the 2021 NFL Draft approaching, the Buffalo Bills need to make the most of the 30th overall pick. Their goal is to improve their roster enough for a trip to the Super Bowl. One area of the roster with an underrated weakness happens to coincide with a weak segment of the 2021 rookie class: defensive tackle. In a way, though, this could allow the Bills to pick one of the best available players at the position without moving up in the first round. One of those top defensive linemen is Alabama’s Christian Barmore.


Christian Barmore (Alabama) Scouting Report

  • Measurables: 6’4” 310 lbs
  • 2020 stats: 37 total tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 8 sacks, three forced fumbles
  • 2019 stats: 26 total tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks
  • Year: Redshirt Sophomore
  • Pro day testing: 4.98s 40-yard dash, 7.81s three-cone drill, 4.75s short shuttle

Summary

Christian Barmore was yet another four-star lineman to commit to the Crimson Tide out of high school. Working in their competitive environment, he redshirted his first year, then became a contributor in year two and increased his workload as a redshirt sophomore in 2020. Though he wasn’t a clear-cut starter, he was still an important part of the Alabama rotation in their championship-winning season.

Barmore’s size and athletic ability are both perfect matches for a future NFL starter, and he had experience lining up all over the defensive line in Nick Saban’s system. Not just a bull-rusher, Barmore showed some finesse to get skinny and split linemen as he accumulated ten sacks in his two seasons. However, his overall pass rush plan is more of a pass rush reaction, and the lack of seasoning would force some teams to limit his role as a rookie.

Strengths

  • Fluid movement and impressive short-area burst for his size
  • Height-weight-length measurements are all ideal for a versatile defensive lineman
  • Lined up anywhere from zero technique to defensive end for Alabama
  • Impressive strength, can compress the pocket even when double-teamed
  • Reliable swim move when rushing the passer
  • Did his best work down the stretch, being named Defensive MVP of the 2021 National Championship Game

Weaknesses

  • Rushes without a plan too often, and gets thrown out of his gap when that happens
  • Has difficulty finding rushing lanes against OL with tighter spacing between linemen
  • Plays with too high a pad level, sacrificing leverage
  • Only started 13 games as part of the loaded Alabama farm system

Draft projection: Late first round to second round


Why he fits the Bills

When you think about it, the Buffalo Bills have a seriously weak rotation of defensive linemen. Ed Oliver is the headliner, hoping to emerge from a sophomore slump and step up as the new leader on the defensive line. Star Lotulelei returns after a year away, but will turn 32 this season. Vernon Butler and Harrison Phillips both turned in 18 tackles and no sacks in a forgettable 2020, and Justin Zimmer rounds out the group. That is to say, even though the 2021 rookie class isn’t chock-full of defensive tackles, the Bills could really use one.

Barmore is closer to a second-round caliber prospect—an athlete with enviable size who benefited by playing for a championship-winning program. He’s a bit of a project, and that’s fine for the Bills, who probably have a four-man rotation ready at DT if the season started tomorrow. But he could eventually develop into the type of player the Bills would love to have on their team—someone who can line up anywhere on the defensive line and take on a double team or rush the passer equally effectively.