ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- There are some similarities between Lamin Barrow and Danny Trevathan, and they go beyond having a shared SEC background.
Both have the same attribute from their college film: they're almost always around the ball. Both have good range covering the field from sideline to sideline. Both showed "thumper" tendencies; neither is timid about attacking the ballcarrier.
Barrow added muscle leading into the Combine; he weighed 237 pounds there, which was eight pounds heavier than he was at the Senior Bowl a month ago. If he adds a bit more weight without sacrificing speed, he could be an ideal middle linebacker.
"He's a tough guy and a good kid. He can play 'mike' or 'will,'" Executive Vice President/General Manager John Elway said.
The addition of Oklahoma's Corey Nelson in the seventh round provides competition, although the two have different body types and skill sets. Barrow has a better chance than Nelson at eventually earning a shot at middle linebacker, given his 237-pound frame.
"We'll let them compete and figure that out as we work through the offseason program and then into training camp," said Head Coach John Fox. "They're good football players and can play the linebacker position and we'll let them compete and see where that develops."
But in the short term, Barrow's first, best chance to contribute to the defense will be as a nickel linebacker alongside Trevathan. If Barrow can develop along the same timeline as the 2012 sixth-round pick, the Broncos have given themselves above-average depth at weakside linebacker.
They also found a player with myriad intangibles and leadership qualities.
"I think his football character, what he brings to the table and his mindset," said Fox. "We look at guys that made captains and what they've brought to a big-time program even in college, and been in big spots, been in big games. Of course, he's a very explosive guy that can play all three downs as a linebacker early in his career."
But to play three downs, first, he must stake a claim to the middle linebacker spot.