The SF Chronicle’s Vic Tafur wrote Thursday, “[Alex] Barron is not only still at training camp in Napa, but doing very well. He might even be in the mix for the starting right tackle position.”
Tafur isn’t just pulling this nugget out of thin air. No, offensive coordinator Greg Olsen, who coached Barron in St. Louis, offered a similar sentiment, noting that Barron is a “totally different guy and a totally different player” than when he was with the Rams. And, if he’s pushing for a starting position at right tackle, he better be a drastically different player.
Of course, Barron was last seen in the NFL in 2010 when he played 80 snaps for the Dallas Cowboys. 78 of those snaps came in Week 1, as Barron opened the season as the starting right tackle for Dallas. The result of that game: Barron would give up three quarterback hurries and incur three penalties. The last of these penalties would be a holding call that negated a Roy Williams touchdown catch. The Cowboys would lose the game by six points.
In the season prior (2009), Barron started all 16 games at left tackle for the Rams, accumulating over 1,000 snaps. He would surrender seven sacks, 15 hits, and 24 hurries, while also incurring 14 penalties.
In 2008, Barron against started 15 games at right tackle for the Rams, giving up eight sacks, two hits, and 21 hurries, while accumulating 11 penalties.
I don’t have the stats for 2005-2007 (as ProFootball Focus only goes back to 2008), but according to Pro-Football Reference, Barron faired much better, earning an Approximate Value of nine and six in 2006 and 2007 respectively — which puts him in the “starter quality” range.
In any case, Barron has spent the past two off-seasons with the Saints and Seahawks, failing to crack two rosters that aren’t exactly teeming with offensive linemen. Still, nobody has ever doubted Barron’s physical skill set — which was enough to warrant the Rams spending a first-round pick on him. If his maturity and work ethic can catch up to his physical acumen, then Reggie McKenzie’s first signing of this offseason might also his best. Perhaps Barron won’t live up to expectations, but if he can be the player he was in 2006, then he maybe he can help the Raiders to exceed their own.