Lions' Derrick Barnes talking like a player poised for breakout season

Lions linebacker Derrick Barnes sounds confident after his journey to finding himself in the NFL, and as a result of some defensive improvements, feels poised for his best season.
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Derrick Barnes was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 2021, so he has had a front row seat to the entire recent rise.

After a 2023 season that saw him total 81 tackles and one sack with arguably the biggest postseason interception in recent Lions' history, Barnes is feeling comfortable and reflective as he gets ready for another season. Healthy after suffering a knee injury in the NFC Championship Game, he has the benefit of experience.

"It was a long journey for me. (I) overcame a lot of things and now that I'm in year four, it feels crazy. Some people call me vet, somebody people say I'm still young, but just the the approach I have to the game, my mindset, my IQ of the game, knowing what everyone's doing on the field. I was trying to build that last year and then now just coming out here and and and being able to do this, especially when we're running a similar defense that I can just not really focus on the playbook and focus on technique and how to make plays. That's what I'm mostly focused on right now."

A college defensive end with four career sacks, Barnes has shown to be a capable pass rusher. The Lions have added talent and versatility to their defense, which Barnes sees as a big advantage.

"I mean, we could play a lot of man coverage. You got guys, especially me, rushing a lot more this year. Just being able to to have time to get to the quarterback. This is no knock on the DB's we had in previous years. They all were great players also, but coach added some great aspects, great people to this defense especially (in the) secondary. We're excited. These guys are young, but they're hungry and they know it. They're getting the defense like no other. It's just all around. New additions to the defensive line and our linebacker core, in the secondary. It's going to be an amazing year. I'm excited to see what's in store for us."

Derrick Barnes feels poised for career year within Detroit Lions' defense

In terms of his own evolution, it isn't a stretch to say that Barnes is the most comfortable he has ever been. He took the step to becoming a core part of the Lions' linebacking corps last year, and even as he battles for snaps that isn't likely to change this year.

As a young veteran, the Lions will be counting on Barnes to continue his own development. He may be set to have his best year in 2024.

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