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Everything you need to know about Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett

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Will the most decorated Buckeye QB ever make it as more than a back-up in the NFL? (Hint: Probably not, but maybe.)

Goodyear Cotton Bowl - USC v Ohio State Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Well, well, well. One of the more polarizing players to don the scarlet and gray is now taking the next step in becoming an NFL quarterback. Despite his up-and-down career with the Buckeyes, three-time captain J.T. Barrett is one of the most decorated quarterbacks in Ohio State and Big Ten history. He broke 39 records during his time in Columbus, and is now setting his sights on playing pro ball.

As the only three-time captain in Ohio State football history, Barrett’s leadership skills have never been in question. The locker room was behind him since Day 1, and he didn’t let the quarterback competition between Cardale Jones in 2015 affect how he led the team or performed when called upon. His level-headed approach saved the Buckeyes countless times from getting too far behind.

Barrett is also the only Ohio State quarterback to have ever beat rival Michigan (as the starter) four times. The QB totaled 44 starts during his collegiate career, and set a school record with 38 victories among them. He was named Big Ten Quarterback of the Year three times and set conference records for career total offensive yards (12,697) — besting Drew Brees’ prior record —, touchdown passes (104), and touchdowns responsible for (147) — among others.

There’s no doubt that he set a new standard among the Big Ten conference, but he also set an incredibly high bar for the future QBs at Ohio State, setting 35 school records. (Seriously, there are way too many to list, but they are all equally impressive.)

He may live on as one of the best quarterbacks to ever play for Ohio State, but there are plenty of Buckeye fans out there who will tell you it isn’t all about the numbers.

His career began by setting out-of-this-world expectations during the 2014 season; J.T. Barrett quickly filled the shoes of the injured incumbent Braxton Miller, and showed that he too could be dynamic both on the ground and in the air. When he went down during the regular-season finale against Michigan, he was still assumed to be the starter once he rehabbed ahead of the 2015 season.

But then Cardale Jones led Ohio State to a 59-0 win over Wisconsin for the Big Ten title, and then bested Alabama and Oregon on the way to winning the first-ever College Football Playoff.

Barrett and Jones would spend the offseason competing for the No. 1 job, but Meyer and co. messed up royally by keeping them in competition throughout the 2015 season — with Barrett usually playing second-fiddle until Jones threw an interception.

Barrett took the reigns back full-time in 2016, but, with a new team chemistry and very young receivers, he struggled in the passing game for much of the year. He was still a formidable rusher though, and calling a Barrett tuck-and-run play was eventually the new norm. He continued to improve through the offseason ahead of his senior campaign, and came into 2017 with a new air of confidence.

The receivers now had a year under their belt and were trusted more often by Barrett to make contested catches (or at least draw pass interference), which they usually did. But every now and again Barrett would throw the ball so off-target that it would make people wonder how he earned a scholarship in the first place.

Consistency has been a recurring issue for the Buckeye quarterback, but if you look at his full body of work, there’s no one that comes close to his production. Whether or not that translates to the NFL is yet to be seen -- although, some draft-niks are already throwing around some pretty big opinions about Barrett’s potential.

Look, Mike Mayock may be the end-all and be-all of NFL Draft analysis, but sometimes he goes a little off-base. I don’t disagree with his analysis of Barrett, but at the same time: dayummmm, he really said it. Being an NFL back-up QB is not the end of the world, especially considering some of the successful NFL quarterbacks this season: Case Keenum, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Super Bowl Winner and freaking S.B. M.V.P. Nick Foles, even all paid their dues as backups.

My prediction is that Barrett ends up among the coaching ranks, sooner rather than later, but he’ll without a doubt get a shot to make it in the NFL. Where that shot comes from, and how long he’ll be able to capitalize on it, are the bigger questions heading into the NFL Combine.

Scouting Report

Here’s what the pros are saying in his NFL Combine Scouting Report:

STRENGTHS: Outstanding leader. Teammates love him and he handled the rotation quarterback issue with maturity in 2016. Runs to his size and has determination on short yardage and in red area when running. Good decision maker in zone read. Throws with touch to the perimeter and will change speeds to make his throws more catchable. Pocket mobility has improved over time. Willing to stand in and take the hit in order to deliver the throw. Leg strength allows him to fight through sack attempts and keep a play alive. Does a good job of looking safeties off of his deep sideline targets. Recognizes when cornerbacks are looking to bait him. Wants to win from pocket and will try and sit in the pocket rather than bolting too quickly.

WEAKNESSES: Operation time and ball handling are a little slow. Not a naturally accurate passer. Makes receivers work too hard. Ball placement can be a struggle even on swing passes and short throws. Completed a measly 28 percent of his throws over 21 yards this season. Seam curls come wide open and he will opt for safe throws in middle of the field. Misses opportunities to challenge safeties. Gets it out a step late on intermediate and deep throws. Halts progressions early rather than allowing route development. Three-quarter release makes him short in the pocket and allows defenders to maul his pass attempts. Release and arm strength are below average. Allows rushers to get on top of him.


Measurements

  • Height: 6-1 2/8”
  • Weight: 224 lbs
  • Hand size: 9 7/8”
  • Arm length: 32”
  • Wingspan: 76”

Combine Results

Bench press: 10 reps

40-yard dash: 4.76 (unofficial first run), 4.71 (unofficial second run)

Vertical jump: 30 inches

Broad jump: 198 inches

20-yard shuttle: 4.44 seconds

3-cone drill: 7.38 seconds


Interview Notables and Quotables

Barrett met with the media on Friday, and didn’t appear to let those questioning his NFL potential get the best of him. He spoke about only being able to control how he presents himself, and hasn’t spent a whole lot of time paying attention to the noise. The Buckeye also talked about what he’s been working on since the season ended.

“I’d say footwork is probably the top one of the top things. I didn’t take a lot of snaps under center (at Ohio State) so being able to make that transition into the NFL. A lot of footwork. Timing stuff like that.”

The quarterback was asked about what has been the main focus during his meetings with teams, and he mentioned that they were interested in the type of offense he ran at Ohio State, and digging a little deeper to really see how knowledgeable he is. When describing how he felt more than prepared for those kinds of questions, he also embraced the QB competitions he faced throughout his Buckeye career.

“Coach Meyer and the position coaches I had at Ohio State put me in a great position to be here today. Whether it be the knowledge of the game and being a student of the game and understanding football. Even the guys I went against — I was in there against Cardale (Jones), Braxton (Miller) and even Kenny G. (Guiton) — and then competing with the people behind me. It was constant competition at Ohio State. I think that will help me.”

Some of the questions were a bit odd for someone who is competing for a chance to play in the NFL, like what his plans were for after football, and a lot about those questioning his talent level. Barrett kept his composure and really handled the media well — which really comes as no surprise given his demeanor at Ohio State. He really provided a good answer when asked about his strengths.

“Being able to extend plays and being able to run the ball and not standing in the pocket like a light post. I’m going to move around and make throws on the run and elevate the people around me. The things I’m working on are, like I said, my feet. You talk about your arm but first you have to have your feet in place to make those throws so I’m working on that constantly.”


Player Profiles and Combine Result Links

Player Position Everything you need to know
Player Position Everything you need to know
J.T. Barrett QB Draft Profile
Marcus Baugh TE Draft Profile
Jerome Baker LB Draft Profile
Jalyn Holmes DE Draft Profile
Sam Hubbard DE Draft Profile
Jamarco Jones OT Draft Profile
Tyquan Lewis DL Draft Profile
Billy Price C/G Draft Profile
Denzel Ward CB Draft Profile
Damon Webb SAF Draft Profile
Chris Worley LB Draft Profile