Barbre Not Your Average Athlete At LT


The Packers may have found the heir apparent to left tackle Chad Clifton in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Sunday.

After trading down seven spots and picking up an extra sixth-round pick from the Steelers, the Packers took offensive tackle Allen Barbre from Missouri Southern State with the 119th overall selection.

Barbre made 33 starts, including 32 at the all-important left tackle spot, at the small Division II school, and the athletic ability in his 6-foot-4, 304-pound body projects well to protecting a quarterback's blind side.

"He's a terrific athlete, a very explosive young man," Packers offensive line coach James Campen said. "One game we scouted - obviously we looked at all the games - but he had 16 legitimate knockdowns in one game. You always hear that term pancake, knockdown, what have you, but he actually had 16 de-cleaters in one game."

He also played a role almost unheard of for 300-pound linemen. He was an outside gunner on the punt coverage team, recording seven solo tackles his senior season.

"At first I thought it was kind of a joke," Barbre said of being put on the punt team. "But I ended up doing pretty good at it. I played gunner the whole year and made a lot of plays. I just really enjoyed it."

Coming off being named a consensus Division II All-American, Barbre had an impressive workout at the Scouting Combine as the first player from Missouri Southern to be invited. He was clocked in 4.88 seconds in the 40-yard dash and had a 32-inch vertical jump.

"I had a lot to prove going in, being from a D-2 school," said Barbre, who hails from the same alma mater that produced NFL wide receivers Rod Smith and James Thrash. "I knew I would have numbers like that. I felt like it was a good opportunity for me to showcase my athleticism and my speed."

He also displayed his smarts and knowledge of football, discussing X's and O's on a grease board with the Packers coaches during his Combine interview and handling the questions impressively. Campen noted it's always a greater challenge for a small-school player to be mentally prepared to run pro offensive schemes, but Barbre proved he'll be up to that challenge.

"His attention was excellent," Campen said. "The most important part of it was we were able to see his retention was good. He wasn't overwhelmed with the NFL, being he was at a small school, and certainly his athleticism just enhanced what we saw on film."

{sportsad300}Like most college linemen, Barbre will have to increase his strength to compete in the NFL. But he has two significant upsides, according to Campen. For one, his 300-pound frame is very lean and capable of adding 10 to 15 pounds without sacrificing athleticism. He's also, despite having played primarily left tackle, versatile enough to play either guard or tackle on either side of the offensive line.

"The biggest thing with this kid is he's a finisher," Campen said. "He runs down the field, he finishes downfield, he covers people up."

And if he does become the Packers' next long-term left tackle, he's certainly aware of the important role he'll play at arguably the most important spot on the offensive line.

"It's a position that's needed in the offense to make the team go," Barbre said. "You have to be a nasty player, have to be willing to give all you've got."

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