ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- That linebacker Lamin Barrow wore number 18 in his final season at LSU may not be notable to many NFL fans, but to those who know LSU's history, it signifies a tremendous honor.
The newest Denver Bronco, who was taken with the 156th overall pick Saturday, was voted to wear the number by his teammates in a year when the Tigers only returned four defensive starters from 2012. According to the team's website, the number goes to the "consummate LSU Tiger" both on and off the field each year.
"The depth of the team, the lineup of the defensive team as a whole, leaned on me and looked to me for guidance and leadership," Barrow said Saturday in a conference call with Denver media.
Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway highlighted Barrow's mindset live on NFL Network as a major reason for the selection.
"He's going to bring great competition there but he's a guy who's physical and brings great mentality," Elway said, "which is what we really tried to change on that defensive side was that mentality."
Barrow credited the Tigers' success against Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M to maintaining that mentality at all times on the field.
"We tried to come out with a real defensive mindset, tried not to give him an inch," Barrow said. "I think two years in a row playing that guy, we pretty much stoned him."
The fifth-round pick, who Elway said could play inside or outside for Denver, spoke with Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio in addition to Elway after the "surreal" moment of getting drafted.
"They just said, 'Welcome to the family,'" he said.
With his leadership and mental toughness, Barrow should fit right in with the family Denver has been building this offseason.