Draft preview series: Alabama S Mark Barron
April, 9, 2012
By Bryan Broaddus and Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com
The 21st installment of our draft preview series focuses on Alabama safety Mark Barron.
Scouts Inc. ranks: No. 1 safety, No. 11 overall
Bio: Two-time first-team All-American and three-time first-team All-SEC selection had 235 tackles, 12 interceptions and 34 passes broken up while starting 38 games in his college career. As a senior, he a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award and a semifinalist for the Chuck Bednarik Award while starring on a national championship team that ranked No. 1 nationally in passing defense, scoring defense and total defense. Led SEC with seven interceptions as a sophomore on a national championship team.
Size: 6-foot-1, 213 pounds
Randy Litzinger/Icon SMIAlabama safety Mark Barron does a good job supporting the run, but there are some questions about his cover skills.
40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds
Did not work out at combine due to hernia surgery.
Broaddus Breakdown (viewed Arkansas, Florida, Tennessee and LSU): Lined up as a safety in the Crimson Tide defensive scheme but really plays more like a linebacker than a real safety. Was a three-year starter on the nation’s top-ranked defense. He does some of his best work around the line of scrimmage. … Is not a hard player to find on film because he is always around the ball. Might not be the quickest safety, but he is very quick mentally when it comes to reacting to the play. When he sees it, he is gone. Outstanding anticipation to drive on the ball. Is rarely fooled on the play. Arkansas tried to run a reverse on him, but he totally shut it down. … Shows awareness in the scheme he plays. Doesn’t overrun plays or get out of balance. Can tell that the defensive coaches have a great deal of faith in his ability by the way they use him to make plays. … Is a read-and-react cover guy. Will see him play more in an area and pick up crossers or receivers as they run their routes. I didn’t observe many plays where he would walk down in the slot and just carry that man in coverage. … When he was in coverage, thought he needed to get his hands on the man to have a solid chance to stay in coverage. Didn’t see a player with great catch-up speed, but his physical style made up for this. … Is not a fluid-moving player, more of an explosive one. There is some tightness when you see him pedal. Doesn’t turn all that well. … Love the way he supports the run. This is one of his great strengths. Is a downhill player that is physical at the point of attack. Will make some big hits and will wrap up when in position, but has missed some too when he went too low and ended up on the ground. Is not afraid to stick his nose in the hole and make the tackle when he is near the line. Was very productive against LSU and their powerful running game at filling the hole. … Is used on the blitz in some schemes. Brings power off the edge. Has a feel for how to create pressure on his blitz. Don’t see him quit his rush or give up and stop. … Overall is an outstanding football player. But, as far as a fit for the Cowboys, I have my questions about whether he can play as a safety that can cover. I only observed one play where he had to defend the ball down the field on a pass and that was against Tennessee off the hash and he was able to make that play. There is no question about Barron’s toughness and his smarts, but we all watched last season when the ball went down the field against these Cowboys’ safeties, and plays were not being made. This roster has plenty of strong safety types in Gerald Sensabaugh, Barry Church and Danny McCray that aren’t known as good cover guys. You have to be able to handle these offenses that play with multiple wide receivers. … I have a ton of respect for the way that Barron plays, but it will be interesting to see how he fits in coverage schemes.