Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore enters the 2021 NFL draft as one of the premier interior defenders in the draft class despite an inconsistent two seasons of significant action for the Crimson Tide.
Barmore joined the Crimson Tide following a four-star high school career at Neumann Goretti High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was one of the top overall recruits in Pennsylvania and ranked 75th on ESPN’s Top 300 during his recruiting cycle. He was a hot commodity who received 15 scholarship offers, including from schools like LSU, Florida, Georgia, and Oregon.
Barmore redshirted his true freshman season and saw his first significant action in 2019 when he logged 269 snaps in 12 games with one start. He finished the year with 26 tackles, six tackles for loss, and two sacks. He was selected to the Freshman All-SEC team by the league’s coaches. This past season, Barmore nearly doubled his snap total (468) and totaled 37 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. His eight sacks led Alabama’s defense. He was named First Team All-SEC and was picked for a variety of All-American teams.
Physically, Barmore is a barrel-bodied beast at 6-5, 310 pounds. He’s thick but not fat and can move his frame with little effort. He’s a natural big man who will likely add another 10-15 pounds as he matures in the NFL. He’ll turn 21 years old during his rookie season, so he’ll naturally add weight as he ages. He’s athletic enough to handle it.
Athletically, Barmore is a dancing bear when he wants to be. His initial quickness off the snap is at times elite, and his swim move is downright deadly when he times it right. But for every play that Barmore dazzles with shocking juice and energy, there’s one in which he’s stonewalled at the line of scrimmage for what appears to be a lack of effort. If he wants to be a truly dominant pro, he’ll have to rev his motor a bit more.
Barmore has the upside to be a quick-hitting penetrator as a three-technique in the NFL. Those players are en vogue and offer more value in the modern era of offenses that feature a faster pace and quick-hitting passes. His ability to collapse the pocket will be highly coveted by teams that believe they’ll get his best reps on a consistent basis. Barmore has (+) power at the point of attack and his heavy hands are an asset when he stacks and sheds would-be blockers. He has deceptive speed, too, and can make opposing linemen whiff when he’s dialed-in with his swim move. It’s an impressive sight.
Against the run, Barmore has the kind of wide frame needed to clog running lanes and eat blocks to allow his second-level linebackers to run free. He also has enough quick-twitch ability to penetrate and blow up a running play in the backfield. He’s a good tackler whose power is evident on contact.
Overall, Barmore is an intriguing interior defensive lineman who would’ve likely evolved into a surefire first-round pick had he returned for another season at Alabama. He flashed at the right time this season (he was chosen as the defensive MVP in the national championship game) and his performance throughout the college football playoffs has his arrow pointing up. But any team that picks Barmore has to be patient with him. He’s still maturing, both physically and as a football player, and we may not see the best version of him until he’s in the league for a couple of seasons. He’d be a risky first-round investment.
GRADE: 7.4 (2nd round)