NFL Draft: Q&A with Oklahoma State Defensive Lineman Calvin Barnett


Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (99). Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. Despite the recent signings of Julius Peppers and Letroy Guion, the Packers will still be looking to the draft to develop young defensive line talent.

With this in mind, I reached out to Oklahoma State defensive lineman Calvin Barnett to get his thoughts on his game and possibly being drafted by Green Bay this spring.

Barnett was a two-year starter as a defensive tackle for the Cowboys, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors in both 2012 and 2013. The Oklahoma native was not only the first player in school history to earn two-time all-conference honors as a defensive lineman since 1991, but Barnett also earned the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year award in 2012 after he transferred to Oklahoma State following two years of junior college.

At 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, Barnett offers a tough run-stopping presence as an interior lineman who can also flash some pass rush ability. In two seasons, he recorded nine quarterback hurries, which ranks him seventh in school history in this category.

Barnett can play anywhere on the line, whether that be at nose or as a five-technique end in the 3-4. He could even develop into an effective interior pass rusher in the Packers’ nickel and dime packages.

Regardless of where he is played in the NFL, Barnett is an intriguing defensive lineman prospect going into the draft. Here is what he had to say about his game, the draft process, and possibly playing for Green Bay.

Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (99) leads the team onto the field before a game against the Texas Christian. Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Q. Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up, and what led you to play defensive tackle for Oklahoma State?

CB: My life was pretty much like most young men who grew up with a mother being a single parent. We faced many problems when it came to bills and living situations. Between my mother, sisters, and I we always managed to get by and live comfortably. The reason why I choose OSU was the fact that the coaching staff here was very faithful to me by showing me honesty and respect. Mike Gundy has been one of the best coaches that I’ve ever played for and I thank him for giving me an opportunity to live my dream.

Q. With the college season over, what will the next few months look like for you leading up to the draft? Are there any parts of your game you will focus on improving before May?

CB: These next several months will be very tense for me. I plan on working out everyday of the week to raise my strength to another level. The biggest thing I’ll be working on is my pass rush ability and my hands because people feel that I lack at the ability to rush the passer.

Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (99) tackles Mississippi State Bulldogs quarterback Dak Prescott (15). Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Q. I was really impressed with your performance against Missouri in the Cotton Bowl. What made you so successful against Missouri’s offensive line, and what was it like to play that well under the national spotlight?

CB: Just knowing that fact that I’m getting closer and closer to my dream it made me leave it all on the field with no regrets. I was trying to send a final message to the NFL that I’m ready to compete on their level.

Q. What are your strengths as a defensive lineman, and what do you bring to the position?

CB: I feel like my main strength at my position is my physicality. Not many defensive linemen play as aggressive as I do, and that causes me to free up my linebackers to make plays on the field. I feel like I bring a new style of play to the game by being a hardnosed hitter upfront instead of doing that as a safety or linebacker.

Q. In your opinion, what is your most underrated skill as a player, and why do you think this part of your game gets overlooked? 

CB: I think my ability to draw multiple blocks is my most underrated skill. I think it’s only gets overlooked because of the conference I played in.

Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (99) rushes Missouri Tigers quarterback James Franklin (1). Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Q. Are there any NFL players you study or try to model your game after, or any players or team you watched growing up that inspired you to play football? 

CB: Warren Sapp. I feel like he’s the best to ever play the position. I also enjoy watching New England’s Vince Willfork. Those two guys really inspire me as a defensive lineman.

Q. One of the Packers biggest needs going into the draft is defensive line. How would you feel about being drafted by Green Bay, and what kind of player would they be getting?

CB: I would love being a Packer because that means that they’re taking a “chance” on me. I’ll be the player that just plays my role and does my job as expected from a professional standpoint.

Q. The Packers play a 3-4 defense. How comfortable would you be playing as a either a two-gap defensive end or nose tackle? Do you have any experience in either one of these roles? 

CB: I have a little experience in a 3-4 defense, but at the end of the day, I feel like I’m a good ball player so it wouldn’t be hard for me to adjust to any position on the line. I love playing end though. You’re just on an island with your opponent. It comes down to who’s going to win that matchup.

Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Calvin Barnett (99). Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Q. If the Packers drafted you, what would you bring to their team?

CB: I would bring great tenacity to the field, and leadership to the team, if needed. I love being able to help the team in whatever I do on or off the field.

Q. What are some goals you will set for yourself in your first year in the NFL? 

CB: I want to play as if every snap is my last. I also want to try and be a Pro Bowl-caliber player as a rookie.

Q. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?

CB: I’m an average 22-year-old. I love to just chill and hang out with my teammates, play video games, and shoot pool. Really anything competitive.

Career College Stats

2013 – 32 tackles, 7 TFL, 3.5 sacks, 5 QB hurries, FF, and a pass breakup

2012 – 30 tackles, 9 TFL, sack, 4 QB hurries, and a pass breakup

Film on Calvin Barnett

Calvin Barnett against Missouri (2013): 6 tackles, 1.5 TFL, and a sack

Calvin Barnett against Arizona (2012): 5 tackles and 1.5 TFL

Watch more film on Calvin Barnett at