Raiders Draft Preview: Pick or Pass – Defensive Tackle
Christian Barmore
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive lineman Christian Barmore (58) celebrates after defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the NFL offseason, perhaps no position on the roster for the Las Vegas Raiders was more of a question mark than defensive tackle. Their best interior defensive lineman from a year ago, Johnathan Hankins, was a free agent and beyond him, the position was a complete wasteland.

Fast-forward a few weeks, however, and now the Raiders have defensive tackles coming out of their ears — the only question now is whether any of them are very good. Besides re-signing Hankins, the Raiders re-signed Kendall Vickers and David Irving and then added Solomon Thomas, Quinton Jefferson and Darius Philon. They also still have Maurice Hurst on the roster as well.

Now you may be wondering: if they’ve got seven dudes already under contract — some of whom surely won’t make the roster — then why would the Raiders even consider picking a defensive tackle in the first round. The answer? As I alluded to earlier, the jury is very much still out on how many of those guys are good — and if the Raiders could add a difference-maker (specifically on passing downs), it would go a long way to helping the defense out.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, when it comes to first-round defensive players, there’s really only one name in play: Alabama’s Christian Barmore.

Christian Barmore
Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama defensive lineman Christian Barmore (58) tackles Ohio State running back Master Teague III (33) during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary Cosby-USA TODAY Sports

Christian Barmore, DT, Alabama

Big board ranks: No. 33 (McShay), No. 22 (Brugler), NR (Kiper)

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 310

Arm: 34 5/8

40-yard: 4.93

Measurement Analysis: Nothing too crazy for Barmore, who opted out of a handful of the drills. Obviously, the arm length is a plus, especially when you consider that most guards are interior guys because they lack elite arm length. Also, 4.93 may not seem that fast, but for 6’4″, 310 pounds? Giddy up.

Film Analysis: When I watched Alabama play in the national championship, I was introduced to Barmore — who won Defensive MVP — and immediately thought to myself: that is the guy the Raiders need to pick. He was disruptive throughout and finished with five tackles (two for a loss) and a sack. On the season, he finished with eight sacks as a defensive tackle!

The obvious comparison here is Quinnen Williams, the defensive tackle who went No. 3 overall in 2019 — one spot ahead of Clelin Ferrell. Like Williams, Barmore has only played two seasons heading into the draft. Like Williams, Barmore had only one truly dominant season (both guys had two sacks as redshirt freshmen, with Williams notching 6.5 tackles for loss, to Barmore’s 6). Williams’ senior year, he notched eight sacks and 19.5 tackles for loss, while Barmore — in four fewer games — notched eight sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. Barmore also added three forced fumbles as well.

Verdict: PICK

The Raiders never had the chance to take Williams, but they may get another shot at it this time around. Barmore is slightly bigger than Williams, but also .08 slower in the 40 — but he does boast longer arms (by 1 3/8 inches). I’m not saying Barmore is Williams, just that there are enough similarities to get excited about at pick No. 17.

While there is a log jam at defensive tackle, Barmore could come in right away and start next to Hankins — which would both bolster the run defense and take some pressure off of Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue and Clelin Ferrell on passing downs as well. There is some depth at the position, but if Barmore is the pick, you won’t hear any complaints from me.