Connor Barwin: An intriguing prospect for the Titans

The more I look at Connor Barwin the more I become intrigued by him. He’s also piqued the interest of the Titans, who invited him to Tennessee for a closer, more personal, look.
 
Barwin is an exceptional athlete who might excel at one of several positions in the NFL. He played tight end and defensive end at the University of Cincinnati and was a special teams star as well. He could also be a good fit in the NFL as a linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
 
Let’s take a look at how he might fit with the Titans.

As a tight end, he’d compete for playing time with Alge Crumpler, Bo Scaife and Craig Stevens. Barwin would be more of a H-back than an inline blocker and could make Scaife expendable after this year.
 
Defensive end would probably be the position where he could make the quickest contribution, as a member of the regular rotation. With only one year’s experience at the position, he would still be a work in process, but one with tremendous upside.
 

I’ll bet he could even be an effective linebacker and an eventual replacement for David Thornton. Barwin is bigger, stronger, younger and more athletic (probably quicker and faster too) than Thornton, whose only advantage would be his experience. 

 
No matter which position or positions the Titans use him at, he would also be a great addition to the special teams units. In college he was a regular Mr. Do-it-all as a gunner, wedge buster and punt blocker. Who ever heard of a defensive end, or any player his size, being used as a gunner?
 
The 6’4″, 256-pound prospect has been rising up the draft boards after a tremendous combine, which he followed up on with an even more impressive Pro Day.  
 
I compared his combine results with those of all the tight ends and defensive linemen who participated in those events at the combine and found some interesting results.
 
Barwin’s short shuttle time of 4.18 ranked first at both the defensive line and tight end positions.
 

His 10’8″ broad jump was better than that of any of the tight ends and tied for first among defensive linemen.

 
Barwin’s 40½” vertical jump was the best among defensive linemen and tied for second among tight ends.
 
The 40-yard dash, the glamour combine event, ranked his 4.59 time as first on the d-line and third for tight ends.
 
His 1.53 10-yard split was a tie for first among defensive ends and tied at third for tight ends.
 
Barwin’s 2.68 20-yard split ranked as a third-place tie for defensive ends and fifth for tight ends.
 
He was tied for second at both position groups in the three-cone drill with a time of 6.87.
 
The only event in which he wasn’t in the top three in one or both groups was the bench press, in which he had 21 repetitions.
 
Barwin followed the combine up with an outstanding Pro Day. Here’s a report on it in an excerpt from a TFYDraftcom/SI article, which rated him as the top riser in the draft:
“Barwin proved himself to be first-round worthy at last month’s combine and on Thursday erased any remaining doubt he deserves to be a top 32 selection. Barwin improved his 40 time from Indianapolis, posting 4.48 seconds. He then put on a show for scouts in the position drills. The former tight end worked out with the offensive linemen to show his blocking prowess and with the receivers to display his pass catching skills. Barwin also did defensive line and linebacker drills. He’s getting a lot of interest from teams who select in the late part of round one such as the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.”
Note that the Pats and Fish both employ 3-4 defenses and more than likely view him as an outside linebacker.
 
For another good read, check out this scouting report on him, both as a defensive end and a tight end.
 
If selected, Barwin would probably be the best all-around athlete the Titans have had since Jevon Kearse’s injury, on his first stint with the team. I like him as a defensivve end. What do you think, readers? Where would Barwin play if the Titans drafted him?
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