Calling Christian Barmore a late bloomer would be a disservice to the University of Alabama sophomore, who wasn't originally a major recruit out of Neumann-Goretti High in Philadelphia and was redshirted in his first season with the Crimson Tide.
Because in just two seasons of college football, Barmore has turned himself into perhaps the finest defensive tackle on the NFL Draft board.
An exciting prospect who shined brightest under the spotlight of the BCS National Championship game, Barmore supplied ample evidence that his best days are ahead of him and that he can be a better player in the right NFL system than he was at Alabama.
More than a quarter of Barmore's 37 tackles in 2020 were behind the line of scrimmage. He also had 8.0 sacks, up 6.0 from the year before, to go with three forced fumbles and three pass deflections.
Mixed feelings about him among the experts could mean he's still on the board at No. 30, when the Bills will be on the clock for their first of seven picks in this year's draft, barring any trades.
Here's what's intriguing about Barmore:
He has size (6-4, 310 pounds), relatively great speed (4.95 seconds in the 40-yard dash) and explosiveness that can be measured best simply by watching.
He also improved tremendously from Year 1 to Year 2 on the field at Alabama and ended his career with a great effort in Alabama's win over Ohio State for the national title. Two of his five tackles, including one sack, were for losses. That made him the game's defensive MVP.
Here are some excerpts from Barmore's scouting report by the Pro Football Network:
"He has long levers for arms and he also shows exciting flashes of explosiveness off the line of scrimmage. ... His most consistent trait is his power ... and he uses this in conjunction with his length to establish a strong anchor against offensive linemen.
"Barmore also uses this power with heavy hands as a pass rusher. When he times and places his hand punches well, he can win one-on-one reps with ease. Additionally, Barmore has the recovery athleticism to shed blocks and make tackles in run defense.
"Barmore’s size and lower-body explosion also give him exciting versatility. He has the length and play strength to line up all across the line, and if he can hone more of his athletic traits at the next level and piece together uncoordinated parts of his game, he can be an impact starter."
Here's what's not so ingtriguing about Barmore:
There's a bust potential, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah.
"Barmore is ... a little bit of a boom or bust," Jeremiah said. "There is a lot of ability there. You saw the good stuff at the end of the year that gets you fired up. And then I could point out some games in the early or middle part of the season where he doesn't look like the same guy. Just a little bit up and down with him."
But Barmore's early struggles could have been from the result of playing through a lingering knee issue that improved as the season wore on.
Either way, there is no doubting the pass rush Barmore can provide from the interior. That's something that would benefit Buffalo's perimeter rushers for sure.