INDIANAPOLIS — Alabama’s defense annually is stocked with alpha-male prospects. But even in that elite collection of NFL talent, Christian Barmore’s presence loomed large during his time in Tuscaloosa.
One of Barmore’s former college teammates on Thursday said Crimson Tide players knew not to cross the current New England Patriots defensive tackle.
“Christian Barmore is just one of those high-energy guys that brought that fire to the D-line that you want on your team,” safety Jordan Battle said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “He’s one of those guys, like, you see him in the locker room, ‘OK, we don’t want to mess with Barmore. Don’t want to mess with Barmore.’ “
Barmore’s size (6-foot-5, 311 pounds) and on-field aggression make him an intimidating figure. But he also has a “joker” side, as Alabama safety Brian Branch put it, that’s also been evident since he landed in New England in 2021. Few Patriots players are more boisterous in the locker room than Barmore, and his older teammates seem to delight in razzing him.
“He was always a good guy,” said Battle, who played two seasons with Barmore in college and now is preparing for the 2023 NFL Draft. “He was also one of those guys, those older guys when I got there, I think he was only one year older than me, but just one of those guys who took in the younger guys. Just, whatever we needed, he was there for us. He was just a great experience for the team.”
Barmore has flashed elite potential for the Patriots, but injuries prevented him from taking a significant step forward in his second pro season. The talented 23-year-old played in just 10 games in 2022 but ranked fourth among Patriots defenders in both quarterback hits (seven) and total pressures (23).
A Year 3 leap from Barmore would provide a massive boost to a New England defense that already ranked among the NFL’s best this season. The same is true for fellow Bama product Mac Jones, who will be looking to recapture his rookie-year potential after a rocky sophomore campaign.
Battle has fond memories of playing with Jones too, who led Alabama to a national title in 2020.
“I knew once he got that chance to start at Alabama, I knew he would be a great player,” Battle said. “I knew there were a lot of doubters before he ever won a national championship, but I’m happy he silenced all the critics that year. I was happy for him.”