Amare Barno is a standout player, one a team can target in an intense defensive line draft during the lower rounds. The redshirt junior out of Virginia Tech had a fantastic 2020 season and a down 2021 season. However, with the size that makes him a distinctive edge prospect, teams will look to take him high and develop him. With his 2020 season being his best season, it came after him playing only three games in 2019. Playing linebacker most of his life, he spent the summer before the 2020 season undergoing a position change to defensive end. However, it’s safe to say that he is a very raw prospect for the position but has the tools to be a high-level player.
Barno has had a unique college experience. Still, it has led him to where he is now, spending his first year at Butler Community College before transferring to Virginia Tech. A new position and new team was a fresh start for Barno, and he made the most of it. Barno has a lot of experience playing multiple positions throughout his football career. Coming from playing safety in high school and being a linebacker at Butler have all made his game more advanced. However, with a vast downgrade in production from every category, teams will have to figure out the cause.
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Name: Amare Barno
Jersey: No. 11
School: Virginia Tech
Class: Redshirt Junior
Weight: 245 lbs
Games Watched: Pittsburgh (2021), Notre Dame (2021), Duke (2020), Liberty (2020)
Major Injury History: None
Pass Rush Ability (11/15)
Barno is a long and athletic prospect that is flexible off the edge. He has excellent bend and flexibility from playing linebacker and safety. However, with only two years of edge experience in college, Barno is a very raw prospect. In contrast, he does have a lot of ability and refined techniques. In 2020 Barno put up solid numbers with 43 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. Furthermore, with great flexibility and bend, he has a lot of upside as a dominant pass rusher.
Barno is not short on his explosive talent. With the footwork and quickness to be explosive off the edge, Barno has the agility teams seek. However, with his agility and effectiveness with speed rushing around tackles, he could improve his hip flexibility. In contrast, Barno won many reps in college due to his explosiveness and the quick first step; however, he needs to pair it with another move. Furthermore, he demonstrated how much havoc he can cause off the edge during his college career due to his quickness.
First Step (6.5/10)
Barno is very efficient when lining up in a three or two-point stance. A lot has to do with his first step and how he can get off the ball at such a fast rate. However, his most important feature is that he doesn’t have wasted efforts or movement after the snap. At the same time, Barno could do a better job of combining his first step with his first pass rush move.
Barno is very conformable working sideline to sideline and flipping his hips to return to his landmark. Much of that has to do with his previous experiences as a linebacker. Barno routinely works downhill and can make plays when coming from the backside around the tackle. However, he doesn’t show that he can consistently beat people with his bend, which needs to improve vastly.
Hand Usage (5.5/10)
Barno isn’t a strong-handed player and won’t be mistaken as one. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t have a few counters up his sleeve. Barno is already pretty good at using his hands and weight distribution to counter the hands of the tackle. However, Barno’s best hand punch is his long arm, and he uses it often to succeed. Furthermore, his hand counter and punches lack power and urgency, and he won’t be effective with them in his first few years.
Barno’s motor does run hot; however, it isn’t as hot as other players in college or the league. Often he looks gassed on the field, and his play suffers. However, Barno is still a very raw prospect at the edge position, and he doesn’t have the endurance to battle offensive linemen every snap. At the same time, his battery has to do with his lack of technique. Barno usually has to fight more than most due to a lack of technique, and it tends to drain his battery quicker.
The most refined attribute of Barno is his tackling; however, a lot has to do with his older positions. While tackling alone isn’t enough of a skill for him to be considered elite, it is something that he has in his bag. At the same time, Barno does show that he is a willing tackler and isn’t afraid to get his jersey dirty. However, he has trouble setting the edge when looking at his run defending skills due to his lean frame. Additionally, Barno could have a problem containing gaps without being pushed around is a problem if he is a weakside edge.
Strength at the LOS (5/10)
With Barno’s thin and slender frame, he doesn’t yet have the strength to deal with the big mountain people that play tackle. However, Barno already has the effort and mindset to become a gap defender; he must add more muscle. Asking too early to set the edge and contain the gaps won’t yield the best results for teams. Instead, he is best used to slash through the gap and blow up the play in the backfield.
Run Defense (6/10)
Barno is still learning how to play edge at an elite level. However, he has a lot of tools that need adjustment for him to become what people think he can become. But the one area that has nothing to do with his technique is his run defense ability. However, if he can spend a year or two gaining mass and getting bigger, he could become solid at gap contain.
Versatility is something that Barno is accustomed to and has no problem showcasing. Barno had the mindset his whole life to switch from multiple positions and work on his craft. Paired with his fantastic work ethic, he is more than capable of playing various roles for the team. However, a few limitations in his game and frame could inhibit him from seeing success.
With Barno’s lack of edge experience and a down 2021 season, his draft stock isn’t as high as it could be. However, with considerable upside for his development, he can become a valuable role player for an organization. While Barno does need to add mass and more technique with hand placement, he won’t likely see the field in year one. Furthermore, Barno will have to adapt to playing edge in the NFL, which will take time.
Rookie Projection: Developmental Player
Third Year Projection: Rotational Edge
Final Grade (69.5/100): Fifth-Round Pick
Player Comp: Carroll Phillips
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