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Barron shoots down criticisms of cover skills

MARK BARRON Safety, Alabama Barron, who earned a

Safety, Alabama
Barron, who earned a 91.7 rating at the Combine, is the best safety in the draft. He was very strong in pass coverage at Alabama. Barron is big – 6-1 and 213 – and should be fine coming up to stop bigger NFL running backs. NFL executives should also feel good about Barron coming out of Alabama’s defensive system. Barron is a definite first-rounder and will be a starter soon into his career.
(Credit: AP)

Mark Barron smiled, seemingly expecting the line of questioning that was to come.

The Alabama safety has found himself defending his defensive prowess -- primarily his man-to-man coverage -- in the days leading up to the NFL draft. And Thursday was no different.

“I feel like that’s a misconception about me,” he said at Wednesday’s Play 60 event in Chelsea. “It’s kinda going away, but I feel like it was a misconception about me; that I couldn’t play man and people saying things similar to that. That most definitely is not the case.”

Barron, a potential mid-first-round pick, could fall to either the Cowboys at No. 14 or the Jets, two picks later. And several teams have had the same inquiry about his defense. His answer to them was the same: Alabama used more zone last year.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything actually,” Barron said. “This past season I didn’t have to do it as much. It’s not like I can’t do it, I do what I’m asked to do. And that’s what I was asked to do and that’s what my team needed me to do. I can do something of everything so I don’t think that’ll be a problem.”

He added that he was “the quarterback of the defense” with the Crimson Tide. “We had so many different things that we did and they could change so quick,” said Barron. “All it takes is one movement form the other team and the whole play can change. It was kind of something that i was kind of pushed into and it became natural eventually. So I’m used to doing that. If that’s what a team needs me to do when I get there, I’m sure I can make that happen as well.”

As for the prospect of playing for Rex Ryan - a friend of Alabama coach Nick Saban - Barron said, “I’m sure that’ll be great. I just got done playing for a defensive-minded coach.”

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