The final day of the NFL Draft started with a bang, with sources telling Packer Report and other outlets that inside linebacker Desmond Bishop was being shopped by the Green Bay Packers.
The only news at inside linebacker by the end of Saturday, however, was the team’s final draft choice was used on South Florida’s Sam Barrington.
Barrington was a three-year starter and earned second-team all-Big East as a senior, when he had career highs of 80 tackles and 3.5 sacks and matched career highs with two forced fumbles and three passes defensed.
“Very good. Plays athletic. He’s good size, strength,” general manager Ted Thompson said. “We were a little surprised that he was still available there in the seventh round. (He was) 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.”
Barrington, who projects to inside linebacker but might get a shot at outside, Thompson said, was the 232nd selection of the draft.
“It was definitely a long wait,” he said. “I’ve always told myself I’m more consumed for the opportunity. It got tough, it got tough. I kept telling myself to stay optimistic and worry about the opportunity and fortunately enough Green Bay came around and added me to the franchise, which I’m very grateful for.”
Barrington had a disappointing Scouting Combine, when he ran just a 4.91 in the 40 with a 32.5-inch vertical. He rebounded at his pro day in a big way, with a 4.67 and a 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. Come back to my pro day and just fix some things. My body was kind of tore up. So, I just to get my legs back under me. 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.”
Barrington has been arrested four times for driving with a revoked or suspended drivers license – including once in November, leading him to be suspended for a game against Connecticut. According to the Tampa Tribune, he was pulled over six times in a 13-month span from 2009 to 2010, stopped again in February 2011 for driving without insurance and nabbed three more times in 2012 for license-related infractions.
“It was just a matter of not taking care of something that should have been taken care of at that time,” Barrington said. “Letting tickets go untaken care of and it definitely led to bigger problems, bigger issues. I suffered from both socially and financially, having to hire different attorneys to get the ticket situation squared away. I’m proud to say my license is under a valid state now and I am a better person because of that situation. And I just hope I get the opportunity to prove that I am a better person to the Green Bay franchise.”
Barrington faces a challenge, regardless of the future of Bishop and last week’s release of D.J. Smith. A.J. Hawk agreed to a less-expensive deal, Brad Jones (three years) and Robert Francois (one year) stayed with the team, and the team spent a fifth-round pick on Terrell Manning in the last draft.
“All I can say is I just need to make sure to put myself in the best position to be ready to come into camp in shape,” Barrington said. “Learn the playbook as fast as possible so I can compete and contribute.”
As for Bishop, a source told Packer Report that the Giants, Saints and Bears were among interested teams. Nothing happened at the draft and the Bears drafted Khaseem Greene to likely take them out of the picture.
“I’d never comment on anything,” Thompson said. “There are all kinds of conversations that go on with other teams and different people who do my job around the league leading up to draft time, and most of them wind up being nothing.”
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.