Connor Barwin: Interview with Big Cat Country

 

I'm here today with Connor Barwin, a first day prospect in this year's draft who many analysts predict will go in the late first or early second round. He's also one of the players that Jaguars' defensive line coach Ted Monachino singled out by name in a video interview as a guy who would be a star at the next level.

Here are some stats from Connor's first and only year of collegiate experience playing DE. He seems to be a natural at the position.

After 11 games he has recorded 46 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. He also has 6 pass break-ups, 4 QB hurries and 3 blocked punts/kicks.  Against Pitt on 22 November 2008, in a crucial 21-28 win, he had a monster game recording 3 sacks and 3 tackles for loss.

We're privileged to have him here, and I hope this gives you a more complete picture of Connor as a football player. I was impressed by how well spoken and mature the young man was and I would love to see him in a Jaguars' uniform next season. Without further adieu... I bring you Connor Barwin.

Collin Streetman: In what ways have you changed your training and routine to prepare for the possibility of life in the NFL?

Connor Barwin: I’ve haven’t made any drastic changes at all. When I was at the Senior Bowl, Bill Parcels told me don’t change anything and be your self. Keep doing what I’ve done my whole career, it’s what’s gotten me this far and I shouldn’t change it. I’ve always taken care of my body.

 

Collin Streetman: What are you’re measurable according to you? Height, Weight, 40 time, and the number of reps at 225lbs.

Connor Barwin:

6’31/2”

256 lbs

4.66 (official time)  4.56(unofficial time)

21 reps at 225lbs

 

Collin Streetman: What intangibles can you bring to an NFL team that might not show up on tape?

Connor Barwin: I think a lot of the intagables do show up. One major factor is I’m a consistent player. My work ethic is an intangible that won’t show up on tape. I have a motor that doesn’t stop. My football IQ is great as a result of playing both offense and defense. My ability to have experience on both sides of the ball allows me to know what the other players are thinking and planning.

 

Collin Streetman: Some players are workout warriors, some are film-junkies, and others spend their free time on the practice field. What’s you’re favorite aspect of game preparation?

Connor Barwin: In the regular season, I’d much rather be in the film room trying to get a handle on any tendencies of my opponent. Anything that gives me an advantage on game-day.

 

Collin Streetman: What is your favorite part of playing DE?

Connor Barwin: One on one match-ups and the ability to create plays by your self. It’s almost like you’re on an island with another man and it is you or him.

 

Collin Streetman: What are you keying in on as far as pre-snap reads go as a DE? What are you looking for while the QB is barking out signals?

Connor Barwin: I’m trying to get a jump on the snap-count mainly, I want to be faster than that tackle assigned to block me. What else I look at is how much the tackle is leaning, trying to figure out what he gonna do. Is he going to try to punch block me, or is he going to fall back to intercept me.

 

Collin Streetman: Do you have a signature pass rush move, or do you rely on natural ability mainly?

Connor Barwin: I rely on my natural ability right now, as well as my ability to wear opponents down over the course of the game is my greatest ability… My speed rush is my best move as of now.

 

Collin Streetman: What teams do you feel have expressed interest in you?

Connor Barwin: I was in Buffalo, I have a trip to Jacksonville scheduled in April, and St. Louis and Miami has shown interest. New England hasn’t shown interest, but I’ve heard they are intrigued. Denver and Tampa bay are two other teams that seem to like me as well.

 

Collin Streetman: Are you stronger against the run, or the pass?

Connor Barwin: Stronger against the pass rush. This offseason was my first full offseason of not playing basketball and I gained 15 lbs… I see myself as being able to gain 10-15 lbs in the next year or so as well.

 

Collin Streetman:  Versatility is crucial to making an NFL roster. Some teams have you pegged as a DE, while others see you as an OLB… Where do you see yourself?

Connor Barwin: I don’t see myself anywhere, in fact, some teams have invited me to work out as a TE, which I played my first 3 years. They want to see how I play at that position now that I’ve put on some more weight and have experience on the other side of the ball. As far as position at the next level, I think it could be anyone of those positions… I found a real passion for rushing the passer this past season though, and I have developed a love for the DE position.

 

Collin Streetman: Did playing TE and learning the nuances of blocking help you as a pass rusher? 

Connor Barwin: Yeah it did… I think that playing DE will help me even more if I get moved back to TE, because as a TE blocking is a big part of the equation.

 

Collin Streetman: Describe your in-game demeanor using one of the following, focused and calm, unhinged and explosive, or downright nasty.

Connor Barwin: Haha, Downright nasty.

 

Collin Streetman: What aspect of your game do you feel is strongest?            

Connor Barwin: Consistency… I don’t ever stop, and my motor never quits. Rushing the passer is my strong point defensively.

 

Collin Streetman: What aspect of your game needs the most improvement?

Connor Barwin: I think defensively my overall techniques and using my hands better is where I need to focus. As far as the TE position goes blocking interior d-linemen and keeping my head up when blocking. Improving my overall strength is a must as well. I’m strong now, but there is still some room for improvement.

 

Collin Streetman: The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive line coach mentioned you by name in an interview as someone he thought had star potential. Did the Jaguars show a lot of interest in you at the combine as well?

Connor Barwin: No, they didn’t. I had 14 formal meetings and I don’t believe a single one was with Jacksonville… That being said, I’ve been told that it is the teams that don’t show interest in you that are most likely to draft you. There is a lot of trickery leading up to the draft. I am going for a formal workout with Jacksonville in April, though.

 

Collin Streetman: Walk me through the most memorable play of you collegiate career, and how it developed.

Connor Barwin: My first game playing Defensive and I got my first sack on a long and broken play, the QB scrambled and I chased him down from behind, it was a huge confidence booster and really helped me to know that I could play the position successfully.

 

Collin Streetman: What kind of offensive linemen gives you the most trouble, big bruisers, or smaller guys with great feet and agility

Connor Barwin: Smaller guys with agility… I can just use my speed against the big bruisers and get right around them.

 

Collin Streetman: Do you have any game-day superstitions or routines you follow?

Connor Barwin: No nothing like that… The only thing I do the night before the game is I write in a journal and write what I plan on doing during that game.

 

Collin Streetman:  How would you describe your personality and character?

Connor Barwin: I would describe it as level headed and focused. I don’t get to high or down. I’m a pretty even keel guy. I’m a calm, trusting person. What’s most important to me is to live up to what my parents taught me about being a man.

 

Collin Streetman: Thanks for your time Connor, I hope to see you in a Jaguars' uniform come come next season!

Here's a list of Connor's combine scores... This cat is clearly a top notch athlete.

40 Yrd Dash: 4.59
20 Yrd Dash: 2.68
10 Yrd Dash: 1.58
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 21
Vertical Jump: 40 1/2
Broad Jump: 10'08"
20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.18
3-Cone Drill: 6.87

 

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