J.T. Barrett Still Focused on Controlling What He Can Control

By Dan Hope on March 2, 2018 at 7:26 pm
J.T. Barrett

INDIANAPOLIS – When J.T. Barrett faced criticism for his play over the course of his career at Ohio State, Barrett often responded by saying he was focused on controlling what he could control.

Barrett is taking the same mentality into the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine and furthermore, the NFL draft.

Going into his on-field workout at the combine on Saturday, Barrett continues to face questions about his downfield passing ability, and specifically whether he has enough of it to succeed in the NFL. Barrett, however, is ignoring the noise, saying he is focused simply on being the best version of himself that he can be.

"People are going to have opinions about who fits better in the NFL and that’s fine, and I haven’t paid much attention to it honestly," Barrett said. "I’m trying to show the 32 teams reasons why they should draft me, and I think with my skills, I’ll be able to do that."

Barrett plans to participate in the full on-field workout on Saturday, and wants to showcase both his athleticism in the measurable tests and his throwing ability in quarterback drills. The latter will come the challenge of working with receivers who he does not have established timing with, so his ability to anticipate will be put to the test, but he says he has been working specifically on improving his footwork over the past couple months in order to prepare for what he will be asked to do on Saturday.

It’s uncertain how much confidence scouts have in Barrett’s ability to play quarterback in the NFL, but Barrett does not lack confidence in himself.

"I’m not the type to voice it, I’m going to showcase it on the field, so with that, that’s what I plan to do," Barrett said. "I think I did a good job preparing and trying to be ready for this moment, so I have confidence in myself, yes."

Barrett says he has been in touch with some of his former teammates who have gone on to play in the NFL, including fellow former Ohio State quarterbacks Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller, and they have advised him not to allow the NFL draft process to overwhelm him.

"Just enjoy it. Don’t let it stress you out," Barrett said of their advice to him. "I think a lot of this can kind of weigh on you mentally, not so much physically, so with that, just enjoy it and be yourself."

Barrett is not expected to be selected before the late rounds of the NFL draft, no matter how well he performs on Saturday, but Barrett says he isn’t worrying about that. Instead, he’s focused on putting himself in the best position possible to make an NFL team’s 53-man roster regardless of whether he is drafted.

All he needs, he says, is an opportunity.

"If you’re going in the first round or you’re going in the seventh round, I think at the end of the day, that’s what you want, right?" Barrett said. "So you need one opportunity to go showcase who you are as a football player and as a person. I just need one opportunity, one team to believe in me, and go show them who I am."

Unlike most of his career at Ohio State, Barrett was not in the center of attention at the NFL Scouting Combine on Friday, as projected first-round quarterbacks like USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, UCLA’s Josh Rosen and Louisville’s Lamar Jackson drew the largest throngs of reporters to their podiums. Barrett, however, said he didn’t mind having the spotlight away from him for once.

"Nah, I’m good," Barrett said after looking over the large crowd of reporters surrounding Darnold’s podium during his media session, which was held simultaneously with Barrett’s.

“I just need one opportunity, one team to believe in me, and go show them who I am.”– J.T. Barrett

That’s not to say, though, that Barrett will be content to sit back in the shadows once he gets to the NFL. While Barrett will almost certainly begin his NFL career as a backup quarterback, assuming he is able to make a team at all, he says he will not go into the NFL with the mindset that he is a backup quarterback.

"I mean, you got to prepare like you’re a starter," Barrett said. "If I’m backing somebody up, it takes one play for something to go wrong and you have to go win the game, and so I’m preparing like I’m a starter each and every week."

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