Analyzing how Zaire Barnes fits into the NY Jets defense

NY Jets, Zaire Barnes
NY Jets, Zaire Barnes / Jaime Crawford/GettyImages

After trading back in the sixth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the NY Jets selected linebacker Zaire Barnes at pick No. 184. Barnes comes to the Jets from Western Michigan after establishing himself as a quality linebacker during his college career.

In his first season with Western Michigan in 2018, Barnes appeared in all 13 games. However, it wasn't until 2019 that he would really begin to take off. Barnes finished 2019 with 29 total tackles, starting four games as a rotational defensive piece.

Barnes missed the 2020 season due to a torn ACL. However, when Barnes returned in 2021, he was able to establish himself as a full-time starter.

Picking up 68 total tackles, Barnes also tallied 2.5 sacks that year, as well as one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries. He started 12 games as the team's SAM linebacker.

In 2022, Barnes finished his final collegiate year with 93 total tackles as a full-time starter. He would also record one sack, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, eight passes defended, and one interception.

That's what he did in college, but how will Barnes fit in with the Jets' linebacker group?

How will Zaire Barnes fit in to the NY Jets' defense?

Coming into the linebacker group that already consists of the likes of C.J. Mosley, Quincy Williams, Jamien Sherwood, Hamsah Nasirildeen, and Chazz Surratt is no easy task. With Mosley and Williams slated to be the top two linebackers, the Jets are still in search of a third linebacker, and Barnes could be that guy.

Is it possible for the Jets to re-sign Kwon Alexander? Absolutely. However, with that said, it's also not a guarantee that they do. Sherwood could also make a good case for the team's third linebacker.

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Depending on how his training camp goes, Barnes could very well sneak into the third linebacker spot or at least make a strong case for it. At the very least, he should be a regular contributor on special teams.