New York Jets choose Western Michigan linebacker Zaire Barnes in fifth spherical: Inspecting his analytic profile

Within the fifth spherical (one hundred and seventieth general choose) of the 2023 NFL draft, the New York Jets chosen Western Michigan Linebacker Zaire Barnes. This text is meant to supply some further context and details about this Jets’ choice by discussing his analytical profile.

Zaire Barnes

Age: 23 (born September 3, 1999, so he will likely be 24 by opening day)

Relative Athletic Rating: With a rating of 9.12, Barnes is a implausible athlete amongst linebackers. Extra particularly, whereas he measured on the shorter and lighter aspect amongst linebackers, his explosiveness, velocity, and agility scores have been all very sturdy. Provided that Saleh’s system appears to position lesser worth on the scale of linebackers, this looks like a participant that’s nicely fitted to the system.

Profession stats by way of 43 video games over final 4 seasons per (2022 stats in parentheses):

An necessary caveat on Barnes is that he missed the 2020 season with an damage. If we counted this season then he would have performed 5 seasons.

  • 127 tackles (59)
  • 78 assists (34)
  • 15 tackles for a loss (4.5)
  • 3.5 sacks (1.0)
  • 1 interception (1)
  • 2 fumbles compelled (1)
  • 6 fumbles recovered (3)

General, Barnes was not notably efficient because it pertained to compiling stats on the stat sheet. That is notably notable given that he’s a bit older than the everyday prospect and performed a MAC college the place an athlete of his caliber would doubtless have dominated had his expertise allowed for it. This lack of statistical output can also be current in his 2022 statistical profile, the place he averaged about 5 tackles a sport with a sack or sort out for a loss occurring each different sport on common.

2022 Efficiency per ProFootballFocus:

  • General grade: 78.6
  • Rush protection grade: 88.9
  • Move rush grade: 65.0
  • Protection grade: 69.7

The PFF grades present a bit extra constructive of an image for Barnes. Particularly, this implies he excelled in rush protection, which can permit him to carve out an early position as an early down linebacker. Nevertheless, the info additionally suggests Barnes might want to enhance as a cross rusher and/or in cross protection for Barnes to change into an each down linebacker.


Whereas Barnes is a bit older than the everyday prospect, he’s additionally a bit extra athletic. He additionally confirmed the flexibility to play run protection at a excessive degree in accordance with PFF even when that efficiency didn’t essentially permit him to build up a ton of counting stats akin to tackles. General, the hope for Barnes is that his prowess in run protection carries over to the subsequent degree and that Saleh’s workers can faucet into Barnes’ athleticism to enhance his play on cross performs.