It only took me one year to fall in love with Nick Holt as Purdue’s defensive coordinator. Holt took a glaring weakness for more than a decade, our linebackers, and made it a ridiculous strength. It helps that he had three seniors with a ton of experience, but they were excellent all year long.
Those three seniors are gone, but I am trusting Holt so much that I am going with one of his young wards as my sixth pick.
Derrick Barnes - LB
Barnes was a true freshman last year, but Brohm & Holt wisely kept him out of redshirt and let him get some valuable experience. They knew he would need to be ready to start in 2018, so why not give him some important reps in 2017?
Barnes had only 16 tackles, but he played in all 12 games and even managed a pair of starts. He will likely step in on the edge where T.J. McCollum was a one-year solution. I like him on the edge and he could be our No. 2 linebacker this season behind Markus Bailey.