The New York Jets have picked up a number of UDFAs on the defensive line whilst in search of further depth for the strongest positional group on the roster. Continuing the breakdowns of these rookie D-linemen, lets take a look at nose tackle Tarow Barney.
- Name: Tarow Barney
- School: Penn State
- Position: Nose Tackle / Defensive Tackle
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 306 lbs
Tarow Barney started his post high school career in junior college. Before moving to Penn State in 2014, he spent two seasons at Northwest Mississippi Community College. During this time, ESPN ranked him 18th overall in the Junior College 50 and rated him the 5th best junior college defensive tackle. In his time with the Rangers he totaled 56 tackles and had a team-high 9.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in 2013. At PSU, Barney went on to appear in 25 of 26 games for the Nittany Lions, including his first career start at Michigan State. In 2015 he totaled nine tackles, including a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery in his bowl game.
Barney was also an impressive academic student, graduating in December 2015 with a degree in criminology. He was awarded the Quarterback Club Award winner for the student-athlete who deserves special recognition.
Pre Draft projectionsBarney was not invited to the NFL combine but performed well at PSU’s pro day. He was the eighth member of Penn State’s 2015 team to be signed to the NFL and joins QB Christian Hackenburg as well as 2014 team mate Deion Barnes on the Jets’ roster.
Despite flying under the radar for most draft analysts, Barney drew some interest following the Nittany Lions’ annual charity event ‘Lift for Life’ in July 2015. He completed 34 repetitions of 225 pounds on the bench press, which would have placed him second highest at the Combine. He went on to impress at PSU’s pro day with a 5.02 40-yard dash, 31 bench press reps and a 113″ broad jump. His 30.5″ vertical jump is also an above average performance at this position. This athleticism and strength are certainly the key attributes Barney has going for him. Penn State defensive line coach Sean Spencer said. “He is a tremendous athlete, one of the fastest guys I have ever seen to be 300 pounds. He has great strength in the weight room.”
Barney has never been a consistent starter at the college level and garnered little interest from NFL teams. This wasn’t helped by the fact he spent 2014 playing behind future NFL signees Austin Johnson and Anthony Zettel. When he did get more field time in 2015, Barney seemed to struggle against the higher caliber of offensive linemen in the Big Ten and was often beaten at the point of attack. His Junior College tape tells a different story, but this leads to questions about his ability to stand up against the best of the best in the NFL. Despite impressing in strength and athleticism, his agility at his pro day was less good. He had a poor short shuttle and was unable to complete the three cone drill. He has played in various positions on the defensive line, although the Jets have targeted him as a nose tackle. He is, however, relatively short for this position.
Alongside Claude Pelon and Helva Matungulu, the Jets bought in Tarow Barney in a bid to find future defensive linemen to enhance the depth currently found within this group. Barney compares well in terms of his athletic ability but his lack of experience and production against high level opponents may be of some concern. He will have to impress early in camp to give him a shot at a roster spot. However, his athleticism and strength may find him a place on the practice squad.
Photo credit: Penn State University