It came as a surprise last week, when Oklahoma State defensive tackle Calvin Barnett was not selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Barnett a player that had been a dominant force especially in his last season was projected to go on the third day of the draft and was likely to be a sixth round pick. Alas though, that phone call never came for Barnett and he was immediately signed to a undrafted free agent deal with the Cleveland Browns, a team that has a knack for taking former Oklahoma State stars under their wing, much to the chagrin of the Cowboy faithful.
Coming into the 2013-2014 football season, Barnett was regarded as one of the top if not the top defensive tackle in all of the Big 12. Barnett was on every interior lineman award "watch list" at the beginning of the season, those include the Bednarik, the Outland, and the Lombardi. Barnett followed all of the preseason hype up with a season that most Cowboy fans expected him to be able to do, all the way back in his native Tulsa at Booker T. Washington High School. Barnett racked up 32 tackles on the season, seven being for a loss of yards, and 3 were quarterback sacks. Barnett showed his pass rushing abilities quite a bit this last season with five quarterback hurries and one pass break up, along with a forced fumble. Defensive tackles that can rush the passer are a premium product in the national football league and that will pay huge dividends for Barnett as he tries to make the Browns roster.
Two players are ahead of Barnett on the Browns' roster and one is a familiar name to Oklahoma State fans. Phil Taylor, the former Baylor standout is the current starting nose tackle for the Browns. Taylor is taller than Barnett and is 20 pounds heavier than Barnett, but Taylor is known as a "hole plugger" and primarily run defensive nose tackle. Adding Barnett though, could add another dimension to the Browns' roster being able to bring in a more athletic and agile, pass rushing nose tackle on 3rd & long situations. One other player is ahead of Barnett and that is Ishmaa'ily Kitchen. A great name, but a player that Barnett should beat out, but is ahead of Barnett for now due to his time with the Browns organization already.
At the start, Barnett is going to be a situational and niche player in the NFL. He brings a pass rush game to a position that doesn't typically have that and that will almost lock up a spot for him at the least. Barnett is no slouch either in terms of run defense so if he can develop into a nose tackle that is proficient in both pass rush and run defense, Barnett could find himself a starting job in the NFL one day. I would put a 3-4 year timetable on that. The Browns got a great value pick up, for an undrafted free agent. Barnett has the best chances of making an active squad right away among all of his teammates that are working out with teams. Obviously besides his new Browns teammate Justin Gilbert.