Shaq Barrett a favorite for NFL Defensive Player of the Year

Ryan Loberger

For an NFL offensive coordinator, one position that can really throw a wrench into your offensive scheme is a good outside linebacker. A great OLB can blitz the quarterback, tackle the running back, cover the tight end and move into pass coverage.

Players like Luke Kuechly, Von Miller and Bobby Wagner are household names among fans, and watching them play is exciting to say the least. One linebacker that has taken the 2019 NFL season by storm is former Colorado State linebacker Shaq Barrett.


Barrett transferred to CSU following his freshman season at the University of Nebraska Omaha. UNO shut down their football program after the 2010 season, and Barrett found his way onto the field in 2011 wearing green and gold. In his three years as a Ram from 2011-13, Barrett was a nightmare for opposing offenses.

In his senior year, Barrett garnered first team All-Mountain West honors and was named the Mountain West Player of the Year. That year, Barrett finished ranked fifth in the nation in tackles for loss with 20.5 and sacks with 12.0.

Former Colorado State linebacker Shaquil Barrett (48) was promoted to the Denver Broncos’ active roster Wednesday.

Following his departure from Fort Collins, Barrett found a home down south on I-25 with the Denver Broncos. Barrett’s time with the Broncos featured two Hall of Fame mentors in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, two of the greatest to play the position. During his time as a Bronco, Barrett captured a championship ring in 2016 in Super Bowl 50 as a member of one of the top defenses to ever touch an NFL field.

Now a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defense, Barrett is having a breakout season.

Through the first four games of the season, no player on any NFL defense has been more dominant than Barrett, and the former Ram is making an early case for Defensive Player of the Year.

Barrett is the current NFL sack leader with 9.0 and has caused three fumbles just four games into the season. Recording three sacks against the Carolina Panthers in week two, Barrett followed it up with four sacks in week three against the New York Giants.

Barrett must’ve gotten tired of causing fumbles and sacking quarterbacks because he switched up his stat line in week four against the Los Angeles Rams. Barrett recorded a red zone interception and stripped Jared Goff of the ball, causing a fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown to seal the game in a 55-40 Bucs win in Los Angeles. Barrett also recorded a sack, four total tackles and two pass deflections, with one leading to another interception.

Heading into the 2020 offseason, Barrett will be a free agent, having signed a one year, $4 million contract in free agency in 2019. If he keeps playing at this rate, he’ll see a big payday next offseason, as many teams will want to utilize his skill set.

Ryan Loberger can be reached at or on Twitter @Lobergerryan