Linebacker was arguably one of Detroit's biggest needs heading into the draft, and Lions general manager Brad Holmes moved back up into the fourth round (No. 113 overall) to select Purdue linebacker Derrick Barnes Saturday afternoon. The Lions gave up their fifth-round pick this year (No. 153) and a 2022 fourth-round pick to move up into the Browns' spot to get Barnes. They also received a seventh-round pick this year (No. 257) from Cleveland.
A three-year starter at Purdue, Barnes was an inside linebacker in the Boilermaker's hybrid 3-4 scheme this past season. After playing primarily on the outside as an edge rusher as an underclassman, he moved off-ball as a senior and averaged nine tackles per game. He recorded 209 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks over the last three seasons.
He had a monster season in 13 games in 2019, recording 11 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks playing on the edge. He had 92 tackles as a sophomore in 2018. In six games in 2020, Barnes notched 54 tackles with 5.5 tackles for loss playing the MIKE linebacker role.
"I think that playing defensive end and linebacker helped me a lot," Barnes said Saturday. "I understand the mindset of what it is to be a defensive lineman and a linebacker and I think that just elevated my game throughout this 2020 season."
View photos of the Lions' 4th round pick, Derrick Barnes, LB - Purdue.
This offseason the Lions restructured the contract of Jamie Collins Sr., whose versatility allows him to play a numbers of spots, signed free agent Alex Anzalone from New Orleans, and re-signed Jalen Reeves-Maybin. The group also returns Jahlani Tavai and Anthony Pittman.
The addition of Barnes gives the unit an infusion of speed, explosiveness, production, versatility and toughness as both a pass rusher and off-the-ball player.
"At the end of the day, you're a football player," Barnes said. "Being versatile is huge in the NFL and I can bring that to the table. Playing defensive end was awesome. Playing linebacker was awesome. I'm just ready to take it to the NFL and do whatever the coach asks me to do. I'm just ready to get to work and come to Detroit and do what I've been doing so far and even better and I've excited about that."