Three of the top four players with guard potential at the NFL level were tackles in college. Turning…
Somehow, Shaquil Barrett has flown under the radar on his road to the NFL Draft.
Barrett was the Mountain West Conference's Defensive Player of the Year as a senior, when he ranked fifth in the nation with 12 sacks and 20.5 tackles for losses, with the latter figure setting a conference record.
"If you're going by numbers, what are you looking at? You should definitely be looking at me if you're looking at numbers," Barrett told Packer Report. "It's a little bit frustrating but all it does is add fuel to the fire."
Barrett played outside linebacker in the Rams' 3-4 scheme. He was coached by former NFL star Joey Porter.
"It was huge. He taught me a lot,"Barrett said. "He helped me a lot with my pass rush and some of my moves and taught me how to set stuff up. A lot of my success this season was because of him."
Barrett was a big-play machine who earned All-American honors from Sports Illustrated. Along with spending a lot of time in the opponents' backfield, he led the MWC and ranked third nationally with four forced fumbles. He added three blocked kicks, two fumble recoveries and an interception.
He closed his career with a bang by being named MVP of the Rams' victory over Washington State in the New Mexico Bowl. With the Cougars trying to run out the clock while nursing an eight-point lead, he forced the running back to fumble and grabbed the recovery. That play -- the final one of his collegiate career -- set up the game-tying touchdown and two-point conversion.
The three-year starter finished his career with 18 sacks. Playing coverage is key as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he did a lot of it in 2012 before being used mostly as a pass rusher in 2013.
So why is there not more buzz surrounding this playmaker? The big reason is he lacks elite athleticism. Barrett, who was not invited to the Scouting Combine, ran in 4.73 with just 16 reps on the bench at CSU's pro day.
Still, the tape and production are hard to ignore. All Barrett needs is one team to like him, and then his mission is to show the other 31 teams what they missed.
"They're going to find out sooner than later," he said.
Barrett, who has taken two predraft visits -- none of them to Green Bay -- can't wait to start the next chapter of his career. The draft is just the starting point, not the finish line.
"It's sunk in a little bit that my dream might become a reality pretty soon," he said. "Once you get that opportunity, you've got to take it and run with it. You can't be stuck on things like, 'It's finally happened.' You've got to take it and run with it. You've got to keep getting better. When I get there, I've got to focus on being the best that I can be."