Mark Barron: Inflated or Accurate?

in·fla·tion [in-FLEY-shuhn]
1. Economics. a persistent, substantial rise in the general level of prices related to an increase in the volume of money and resulting in the loss of value of currency.

So what do I mean by inflation? We often experience inflation of prospects in the NFL draft because of a low supply for a high demand. This happens ever year with QBs in the NFL draft. This year we have Ryan Tannehill's stock INFLATED for the need for a franchise QB but not enough to go around. There just simply are not enough Andrew Luck's in a draft to compensate everyone with a need for a franchise QB.

The NFL has become a passing league, so a premium has been given (or higher demand) for good defensive backs. Pass rushers have also had an increased premium but they have always been highly valued ever since the pass was invented and legalized in pro football. A team's needs will also inflate the value of certain prospects. So this begs the question every year for prospects. Are they really as good as their proposed pre-draft slot, or is their value inflated because of a weak draft class or a glaring need for a team.

First of all, Mark Barron has not taken a single snap as an NFL Safety, so there is absolutely no way to tell if he will be successful or not. There are only things that can give you more of less confidence that a player will succeed. However the only way to look and determine what Barron might become is to look at another pro prospect with similarities. They player I have chosen is S Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before I get lynched, I am not drawing a conclusion that Barron will become a player like Troy Polamalu! I am however, making the comparison where you should, between their college careers. So let us take a look at how they stack up as college players.


Troy Polamalu - SS - USC (Drafted #16 Overall in 2003)

Height: 5' 10"
Weight: 207 lbs.
40 Time: 4.33
Vertical: 30"
Bench: 25 Reps

Senior College Stats:
68 tackles (9 TFL), 1 Int (6 career), 6 PD, 3 FF

Scouting Report: Click here for source

Strength: Troy Polamalu is one of the best all-around athletes in the draft. Troy Polamalu has great speed for a safety. The film on him shows him to enjoy making big hits on receivers as they try to catch the ball and slamming into running backs with a head of steam. He has cover skills, though he obviously prefers tackling all over the field.

Weakness: Troy Polamalu is small for a strong safety, though he plays tough. Troy Polamalu has been known to get caught up in the box on passing plays.

Troy Polamalu injured his hamstring in a practice before the orange bowl against Iowa. He, in turn, was limited during the game and was forced to miss the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. He was, however, able to run and work out for scouts at his pro day.


Mark Barron - SS - Alabama (Projected Mid-1st Round 2012)

Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 213 lbs.
40 Time: 4.54 (at 80% after double sports hernia surgery)
Vertical: 34 1/2"
Broad Jump: 10' 2"
20 yd Shuttle: 4.04 (via BirdDog26)

Senior College Stats:
66 Tackles (4 TFL), 2 Int (12 Career), 5 PD, 1 FR

Scouting Report: Click here for source

Weakness: Barron can be lazy with his backpedal and will hesitate in transition due to his size, but these flaws don't come up often. He occasionally launches himself into the ball carrier, a tendency that could be a liability in the NFL. Barron might not be an All-Pro as a rookie, but he showed few weaknesses in college while demonstrating many traits that will serve him well at the next level.

Strength: Barron reads routes and defends the run well. He has good hands and reacts quickly, allowing him to make plays on the ball, which he is often near. He is a sure tackler and uses sound foot technique to put himself in great position. He transitions well in coverage and can defend a variety of offensive players in different positions. Against the run, Barron comes downfield with a head of steam; he can also fluidly run down and cover fast receivers against the pass.

Mark Barron had surgery to fix a double sports hernia after the BCS Champtionship showdown against LSU. He reportedly had been playing with this injury the last two seasons. This, in turn, forced him to miss the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. He also missed the first Alabama pro day, however a second one was held that he toughed through at only a reported 80% health.


Mark Barron's draft value is not inflated. He is projected right where he should be in any draft, whether it is a weak safety class or not. He is not as fast as Troy Polamalu was coming out of college. However without being at 100% for his combine we don't know exactly how fast he can be, although he ran really well, especially for only 80% health. He put up better college numbers and also has just as much of a knack for being around the ball. He is also known for his leadership in the secondary (using hand signals and getting players lined up), something I couldn't find for Troy Polamalu. Troy came out with a little more of a knack to cause fumbles than Barron did, but both are play makers.

For any of you that think Mark Barron is not worth the 14th overall pick, first of all I would like to see the evidence to your claims. Secondly, you are, in turn, saying that Troy Polamalu back in 2003 was not worth the 16th pick in 2003. I will go on record saying that DeCastro is my first choice right now, until someone can convince me otherwise. But if DeCastro is gone then I think Barron needs to be the pick. The guy oozes the RKG mentality, is always around the ball and can cover just as well as play in the box. Case Closed...

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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