As the New York Jets prepare for upcoming training camp, linebacker Deion Barnes is working hard to prove his worth as he can be an undrafted gem for the organization.
It is now less than a month from the start of training camp and the roster of the New York Jets is set. While the Jets were able to upgrade some areas of their roster, it will be interesting to see how things pan out at outside linebacker, especially with how they might have an undrafted gem in the making. Linebacker Deion Barnes has already gotten praise throughout organized team activities and mandatory mini-camp as he’s working hard to stand out when it matters most during training camp.
Barnes played his collegiate career at Penn State. His best season was as a freshman, when he accumulated six sacks and 10 tackles for a loss. He regressed in year two, posting only two sacks. During his time at Penn State, the team was in turmoil due to the sanctions placed on them. They were only allowed limited recruits, which significantly damaged the talent on the team. Despite these obstacles, Barnes came back in year three to post six sacks and a career best 12 tackles for a loss.
As an undrafted free agent, Barnes knows he needs to be able to master several tasks. As a guy that is facing an uphill battle to make the roster in 2016, he needs to find his niche on special teams. Most importantly, he needs to show the Jets’ coaching staff that he can rush the passer. Fortunately for Barnes, the Jets other outside linebackers are unproven, giving him a chance to make the team and contribute on defense.
While the Jets’ have high expectations for Lorenzo Mauldin, they will need someone else to step up opposite him. Third round pick Jordan Jenkins is a great run defender, but wasn’t asked to rush the passer often for Georgia. He will have an inside track to start opposite Mauldin, but regardless, the Jets need someone to fill a situational pass rusher role off the bench.
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Last year should have helped him transition to the pro game with learning from the sideline even though he never dressed.
Now that Barnes completed his redshirt year, he knows he has to go out and play and prove that he has retained everything he learned last year.
Barnes knows he will need to do more than just rush the passer to make the team. In an article written by Greg Pickel for PennLive.com, here is what Barnes had to say about doing whatever it takes for the Jets to make the final roster:
“Whatever the team needs. Be a special teams player, and a pass rusher; whatever they need. Just making plays.”
Barnes is committed to proving that he has what it takes to be a do-it-all outside linebacker in 2016. His chances are good, now it’s just a matter of making sure his coaches see it all throughout training camp.