However, doesn’t seem to really understand angles. Consistently seems to overstep in tight areas and give defensive linemen space to side step his block and get up the field. Isn’t a real compact or explosive puncher either. Takes far too long for him to uncoil his arms and is easily swatted at the point. However, has some natural flexibility in his lower half, can fire off the football low as an in-line guy, generate leverage for himself can create some push off the line.
Exhibits a good initial step off the football in the pass game and displays above-average range toward the corner. However, needs to do a better job getting off the snap count on time. Too often is late out of his stance and gives up the edge too easily at times because of it. Stays compact with his footwork initially even vs. speed toward the corner and can keep his base down through his kick-slide. But when asked to redirect he gets too overextended with his footwork, doesn’t generate any power on his punch and loses his balance easily on contact, allowing defenders to slip his block and/or overpower him at the point.
Impression: Is a good athlete with some natural bend and power to his game. However, lacks ideal awareness, isn’t real clean when asked to redirect and needs to be a more effective puncher. Has some raw talent, but looks more like a developmental/reserve type tackle at this stage with some upside."
Positives: Ideal size. Long arms with an even distribution of weight. Versatile player who has only four years of experience at tackle. Came to LSU as a highly touted defensive tackle prospect and that defensive mentality is occasionally seen on tape. Gains good depth on his kick-slide and has the lateral agility and balance to mirror the defender. Long arms and strong hands to control. Can turn and seal off defenders in the running game, giving backs an easy lane to run through. Shows some athletic ability getting to the second level and, while not nimble, can get in the way of the linebacker, essentially making the block. Legitimate upside. Might just be scratching the surface of his potential and could wind up a better NFL player than he was in college.
Negatives: Lacks the elite athleticism necessary to remain at left tackle in the pros -- though he started and earned second-team All-SEC honors as a senior. Has a troubling tendency to drop his head and bend at the waist on contact, which puts him off-balance. Can be overwhelmed when he gets lazy and doesn't keep his feet moving. Remains a technically flawed prospect who has been able to get by on only his natural ability."
Instead, the Cass Technical High School product made the switch to offensive tackle as a freshman. Barksdale started since his sophomore season and made 39 consecutive starts, with two seasons at right tackle, and his senior season playing on the left side.
Barksdale has excellent size for his position. He has long arms, and a great overall build. He’s agile and has quick feet. Barksdale has a solid knee bend, and quick, wide drop step in pass protection. He does a nice job of keeping his hands inside the defender and preventing holding calls, while maintaining excellent body control. He’s a finesse pass blocker who does a nice job of anchoring down and mirroring his defender. His initial punch is above average and he moves well laterally. He has a solid football IQ, and has had quite a bit of experience.
Barksdale lacks a mean streak when blocking, especially in the run game. His initial punch is above average, as sometimes he lets defenders get too far in on his hands, and will get controlled by bigger and stronger defenders. Barksdale needs to do a better job of finishing his blocks, as well as improving his overall awareness. He has the tools to succeed as a left tackle, but he may have to start on the right side for a few seasons.
Barksdale has first round talent, but he could easily fall to the third round just because his lack of overall production and his lack of true run blocking ability. Teams like New England, Buffalo, Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Detroit could give Barksdale a hard look in rounds three or four.
NFL Comparison: Michael Roos "
Positive: Big offensive lineman who's coming off a terrific senior season and has significantly improved his draft grade. Works to bend his knees, gets his hands into defenders, and stays square. Adjusts to oncoming rushers, keeps his feet moving, and seals opponents from the action with good body positioning. Anchors in pass protection, correctly places his hands into opponents, and effectively uses them to knock defenders from their angle of attack. Adequate strength at the point and displays the ability to turn defenders off the line run blocking.
Negative: Not light on his feet or effective in motion. Does a bit of bending at the waist. Average footwork at left tackle.
Analysis: Barksdale was a consistent player for LSU who made a successful transition to blind side tackle last year, improving on a weekly basis. He offers good size, growth potential, and upside for the next level. His play at left tackle last year moved him from the late rounds into a middle-round prospect."
Negatives: Inconsistent technique... Lacks any real explosion or suddeness to his game... Marginal hand punch at best, lacks any real pop... Struggles with edge speed, overextends and lunges... On the ground too much... Rises up too early and is too upright in his slide... Bends at the waist... Sloppy slow and and over...long footwork when redirecting, lacks good agility... Is a little heavy footed and allows his base to get too narrow... Awkward changing direction, loses his balance too easy... Lacks good awareness, doesn't keep head on a swivel, lose game focus... Lacks mental toughness... Lacks a mean streak, plays relatively passive with no sense of urgency... Not an especially good finisher in the running game... Has talent but will likely never play to his potential, will gets some looks at Guard."
Strengths: Big, thick and strong. Versatile; started two years at RT before switching to LT for his senior season, and likely would make a good OG at the next level. Physical mauler who plays with a wide base. Strong arms and hands and displays a fine punch, and plays to the whistle. Gets good push off the ball. Takes good angles and can absorb the bullrush.
Weaknesses: Not very quick and not suited to LT. Can be beaten by speed both outside and inside. Struggles to redirect and bends at the waist when attempting to recover. Needs to improve his footwork and overall mechanics as a pass protector.
Projection: Mid/late round pick has a chance to stick as a backup G/RT. Needs polish, but has the size and demeanor to make a squad and perhaps develop as a starter down the road."
Although mostly overshadowed by heralded left tackle Ciron Black, you can bet Barksdale will be making a name for himself as the 2010 NFL Draft approaches (assuming he leaves Baton Rouge early rather than return for a senior season). It would not be unfair to argue that Barksdale has been LSU's best offensive lineman in 2009, nor would it be unfair to say that Barksdale is a better pro prospect than Black (who is a potential first-round pick in his own right). While Black is a massive run-blocker, Barksdale is more versatile and better at protecting the quarterback. He stands at 6'5'' and 315 pounds, and he runs under 5.0 in the 40-yard dash. He has even been clocked as low as 4.86 at that distance; some impressive speed for a man of his size. Barksdale does not project as a franchise left tackle at the moment, but he has the tools to potentially switch to that more prestigious position at some point down the road. Look for Barksdale to go off the board in the second round of the draft, and a first-round selection is not out of the question if he performs well at the combine."
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