Measurables: 6-foot-1, 237 pounds.
2014 stats: Nine combined tackles.
Lamin Barrow came to the Denver Broncos via the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft, after a successful career at LSU. As a redshirt-senior, he was named a second-team All-SEC selection. He left the college ranks with 230 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
He was the team captain and emotional leader of the Tigers defense. He wore jersey No. 57, until his senior year, when he was voted team captain he changed his jersey to No. 18—exemplifying what it means to be a Tiger.
John Elway and the Broncos liked Barrow’s skill-set on the field, but it was his character and leadership qualities that ultimately compelled them to pull the trigger in the draft. As a rookie, Barrow came in with another linebacker—seventh round pick Corey Nelson.
The two rookies battled it out to get reps and although I wouldn’t go so far as to say that they made a huge impact in camp, they were solid. Barrow would go on to be a backup at middle linebacker (MIKE) on the depth chart, but he would see snaps on the weakside and strong side as well.
Of course, Barrow did make the final roster, but he only saw 49 snaps as a rookie, earning a -0.8 cumulative grade via Pro Football Focus. He shined best in defending the run and earned negative marks in pass coverage.
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He very much looked like a rookie on the field. When the Broncos linebacker corps became decimated by injury, losing Danny Trevathan, Nate Irving and eventually Brandon Marshall, the team turned to Steven Johnson and undrafted rookie Todd Davis, who was picked up off waivers in-season, to stop the gap.
Barrow’s rookie counterpart, Corey Nelson, saw significantly more defensive snaps than Barrow. Flashing forward to today, Barrow needs to have a phenomenal camp and really show his new coaches that he has turned the corner in his developmental learning curve, in order to have a place on the final roster.
With both starters at inside linebacker recovering from surgeries this offseason, it was again Johnson and Davis who received the first-team reps, while Barrow found himself at the bottom of the depth chart. If the Broncos go with nine total linebackers on the final roster—five OLB, four ILB—I don’t see a place for Lamin Barrow, unless he blows the doors down when the pads go on.
If Marshall or Trevathan suffer a setback in training camp, it could loosen up another linebacker spot on the roster. But it will be zealously competed for. Barrow needs a lot of perspiration and a little bit of luck to make it this year.