Earlier we discussed the value of the Raiders' draft selection of Joe Barksdale. Now I want to take a little time to get to know Barksdale a little better. For me, he is one of the keys to this draft. If he can step in and contribute this season than not much else will have to go right for this draft for it to be a success. He has the potential, but he also has the questions.
He is the lone draft choice of the past two years that has been attached to character or effort concerns. Looking a little deeper it seems clear that these concerns are not because he is a bad person. In 2010, he was named the Butch Duhe Award winner in 2010. LSU awards that to the player that most personifies unselfishness, dependability and commitment to the team. Jump over...
What they do come from is his perceived sense of entitlement and inconsistent effort. In 2008, Barksdale posted on Twitter something to the effect that going to LSU was the worst decision of his life. He later played it off as homesickness and then denied it all together—he said a friend had hacked into his account. Let's hope he has matured out of this kind of thought process. And if he did feel entitled it is not surprising. He has always been a freak disguised as a human being. He was one of the most highly recruited players coming out of high school, and that was for defensive tackle and offensive line. Here is his scouting report coming out of high school:
Massive human being. …Strong hands and extremely powerful. …Bull rusher that commands a double team. …Give good effort on every play but rarely challenged at the high school level. …Could play on either side of the football in college.
He became a full-time offensive lineman before his sophomore season and never looked back. He manned the right side for two years before taking the left side as a senior, and apparently either position is fine with him. "Not at all," Barksdale told the media when asked after the draft if he had a preference to the right or left side. "I’m just trying to come in and be as productive as I can on whatever side they put me on."
But there is also chance he may get switched to guard. So, the media asked him if he would be opposed to switching to guard. "I can play any position, anything that will help the team."
Of course that switch would take some getting used to right? "Probably a good two or three weeks," Barksdale also informed the media. Two or three weeks, huh? I suppose we can allow that. He certainly doesn't for confidence. Nor should he. He was a very successful college tackle in the most talented conference in the land.
While some people felt this selection was a reach—others were boggled he lasted this long. Like SBN's Mocking the Draft
In the fight for the top offensive tackle in the 2011 NFL Draft, it is astonishing that Joseph Barksdale's name does not come up more often. Barksdale is a better athlete than he is given credit for at the left tackle position. In addition his technique is the best I have seen out of any tackle in this draft class. He gets terrific knee bend and keeps his pads low when blocking. Barskdale also has long arms and uses them to his advantage with ideal arm extension in his blocks. His ability to get to the next level, and be isolated one on one are both top notch. Joseph Barksdale has the size and strength of an ideal left tackle prospect.
Or this from Walter Football:
I don't understand why Barksdale isn't more well regarded as a 2011 NFL Draft prospect nationally, but I really don't care. I have watched a lot of tape on the most lauded 2010 NFL Draft tackle prospects, and Barksdale's games are easily the best. He has a very high upside and has the raw talent to be an elite left tackle in the NFL with the prototype technique to boot. He needs to prove he can man the blind side as a senior at LSU, but I think when it's all said and done, he will at least go in the first two rounds.
I feel better about this pick every day. I do not like the fact that he appears to take plays off and does not seem to bring a killer instinct I have faith that Hue Jackson and Steve Wisniewski can raise his intensity levels. I am also pretty sure that Tommy Kelly, Richard Seymour and LaMarr Houston can knock any sense of entitlement he may have right out his ear hole.