Versatility at USF Will Benefit Barrington

Mark Snyder, who was Sam Barrington's position coach before going to Texas A&M, talked to Packer Report about the linebacker selected in the seventh round. Snyder also downplayed Barrington's issues behind the wheel.

There were two noteworthy things about the Green Bay Packers using their final draft choice on South Florida linebacker Sam Barrington.

One, he did not take Desmond Bishop's spot on the roster.

Two, he's been arrested several times for driving with a suspended license.

Mark Snyder, his former position coach at South Florida, laughed when Barrington's driving record was brought up.

"That happens to a log of young people, c'mon," Snyder, who took over as Texas A&M's defensive coordinator in 2012, told Packer Report on Wednesday. "I don't think that's a big deal. It's a kid being a kid. You're speeding, you hide it from your parents, you don't pay the fine and the next thing you know there's a warrant out for you because you don't pay your bill. It's hard on a college kid (without money)."

Snyder, who coached Barrington and was the Bulls' defensive coordinator in 2010 and 2011, didn't laugh when talking about Barrington's football ability.

"We played him at Mike and Sam — one of our key positions," Snyder said. "The guy before him, Jacquian Williams, was a sixth-rounder with New York and ended up starting in the Super Bowl. I did the same thing with Sam as Sam grew up: Played a couple positions to show he was versatile. I think that's helped kids that I've coached throughout my career. When they get to that level, they can play a couple different positions. I know Green Bay runs a 3-4. I don't know where they're going to play him, inside or outside, but it will be interesting to see what kind of pass rush he has off the edge."

Barrington (6-1, 237) was a three-year starter, increasing his production from 65 tackles, 6.5 tackles for losses and a half-sack in 2010, 72 tackles, 6.5 tackles for losses and 2.5 sacks in 2011 and 80 tackles, 6.5 tackles for losses and 3.5 sacks in 2012. He also matched career highs in 2012 with two forced fumbles and three passes defensed.

Not only was he second-team all-Big East as a senior, but he was selected for the East-West Shrine Game and to the Scouting Combine. He did not perform well at the Combine, with a 4.91 in the 40 and a 32.5-inch vertical. He bounced back at pro day, however, with a 4.69 and 37-inch vertical.

"It was very important to me," he said. "The Combine didn't go as well as I thought it would so I had to kind of regroup myself mentally and physically (and) come back to my pro day and just fix some things. My body was kind of tore up. So, I just tried to get my legs back under me (and) come to the pro day with a new mind-set and just do the best I could and, fortunately, I was able to put up some good numbers."

Snyder, who coached A.J. Hawk at Ohio State, said Barrington is more of a "space" player than a "thumper," and said pass coverage was one of his strengths.

"I think I'm very active in passing defense," Barrington said. "Being that I played extensively in the passing game and I never was a guy that came off the field when we switched to our nickel package, I take pride in it. Anything I can do to get better as far as being a pass linebacker, I take pride in it. Whether it's a tight end, a receiver or a running back, I'm going to do my best to be efficient in the pass defense."

The Packers entered the draft with big-time depth at inside linebacker — even with the release of D.J. Smith — but limited resources at outside linebacker. While Barrington projects to line up on the inside, general manager Ted Thompson hinted that Barrington could be a swing player (like Brad Jones and Robert Francois). Either way, special teams will have to be his ticket.

"Plays athletic. He's good size, strength," Thompson said. "We were a little surprised that he was still available there in the seventh round. Again, a fella that we were able to speak to at the Combine, and a very nice fella and carries himself well. We think he's a pretty good player and we thought it was really good value."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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