The Los Angeles Rams are undergoing a defensive scheme and regime change. With that being said, former Pro Bowl starting inside linebacker Cory Littleton has departed via free agency. That leaves the Rams set to start Micah Kiser, a former fifth-round pick and one of their young crop of inexperienced talent. While the Rams have talent and potential at the position, one could make the argument that they will need to look in the NFL Draft early on for a replacement to Littleton.
Here’s a linebacker in the draft who could possess some value to the depth chart, Mohamed Barry.
Mohamed Barry is a former three-star high school recruit that redshirted his first year of college at Nebraska. His second year as a redshirt-freshman, Barry appeared in all 13 games while manning the reserve spot at outside linebacker and playing special teams. His sophomore season he started twice at linebacker and continued making a name for himself on special teams. In his junior season, Barry broke out starting the entire season and leading the Nebraska Cornhuskers in tackles. Barry in his senior season became the first Cornhusker to lead the team in tackles back-to-back seasons since Lavonte David.
Barry’s athleticism jumps right off the page with his ability to go sideline-to-sideline. He has maybe the most powerful energy I’ve seen from a player, as he appears constantly pumped up and starving to make a play every chance he gets. Barry is able to fight through blocks to find his way into the backfield. However, he is a very good linebacker in terms of shooting the gaps in general. Truly a player that locks and loads onto his target and carries his weight and pad pop right through his target like a missile. His short-area burst is a big point in his game and he’s a fairly intriguing prospect while operating in coverage. Even though he wasn’t utilized much as a cover linebacker. His physicality is a big key to his game and the fact he is able to play like his hair is on fire throughout the entirety of a football game without getting completely gassed is impressive. Plenty of special teams ability has him primed for a big-time role at the next level.
Barry is a tad inconsistent tackler in space and due to his overall length, his margin for error is a lot smaller than most in the draft. Can play out of control and unhinged causing himself to whiff completely out of a play. While some in this draft choose a conservative approach, Barry is all about being aggressive and being a tone-setter. Which is great, but he tends to get over-aggressive and miss the mark. He refuses to sit and read every play and instead tends to react a tick too early. His coverage could definitely use improvement but more importantly, he didn’t have a ton of experience in that department. Zero ball production and a very limited amount of pass rush production. He’s a limited blitzer.
Three Plays on Tape
Nebraska ILB Mo Barry diagnoses the run quickly here. Great TFL on the Purdue RB. Barry is a player I like on day three that possesses the athleticism as well as the nonstop energy to think about developing into a starter for your football team. Plays like his life depends on it. pic.twitter.com/MsJAtVsV2w
— JAKE OLIVER ELLENBOGEN (@JKBogenDTR) April 5, 2020
Absolutely love this rep from Mo Barry. Far too often do you hear people say "he had a straight path to the football" well that's not the case here. Barry powers through contact (two OL blocks) and finishes the ball-carrier behind the LOS. Great work from the Nebraska LB. pic.twitter.com/77fDOg9Wqu
— JAKE OLIVER ELLENBOGEN (@JKBogenDTR) April 5, 2020
Mohamed Barry displaying his sideline-to-sideline speed here. Definitely a play I see teams sleeping on and a candidate for "coming out of nowhere" in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/YbHCdZExhy
— JAKE OLIVER ELLENBOGEN (@JKBogenDTR) April 6, 2020
Mohamed Barry is a fun developmental prospect that could very well carve out a starting role someday in the NFL. His freakish motor, athleticism and physicality go a long way. Barry will need to improve as an all-around linebacker and mainly focus on coverage. However, a key thing with Barry that NFL coaching should be able to help him out with, is the fact he needs to play more under control. Barry is a rare energy and it causes him to take himself out of plays. If he can learn to hone all of his craft and work on being a more refined player, he has a chance to make a real impact. There’s a lot to like but there’s also the worry that he’s the type of guy who comes in and tries to do too much.
Draft Grade: Early 5th round
Barry is going to be a developmental player that has the upside to become a starter someday. He’s got some serious traits that will make him a likely fifth-round pick but the reason he will likely not be drafted higher is due to the fact he still has some serious concerns. His lack of length will scare teams away, at worst though, if you draft Barry in the fifth and you find a solid sub-package linebacker that can be a special teams ace, did you really lose? Not really. I think the Rams could definitely look at Barry in an attempt to double-dip on the linebacker position. There’s a good chance he makes it to the sixth-round otherwise the Rams will have to acquire a pick to grab him in the fifth round. Barry might not be a day one starter but again, those traits are important and you can build off of what Barry has in his arsenal.