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Michael Barrett brings a chip on his shoulder and versatile experience as the Panthers 240th pick


CHARLOTTE—Michael Barrett's father took a few minutes away from fishing to take a walk with his son on Saturday afternoon. They were discussing what could become of the Michigan alums future in the NFL, enjoying the early summer evening outside their home town of Valdosta, Georgia, when Barrett got the call.

He was being drafted by the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers took Barrett with the 240th overall pick, the club's final selection in the 2024 NFL draft.

Barrett spent six years at the University of Michigan, redshirting in 2018, before becoming a serious contributor in 2019. By the time Barrett left Ann Arbor following the 2023 student, he had a graduate degree, a National Championship and was named a team captain. He holds the title as the winningest player in program history as he was part of teams that 61-14 from 2018-23, and appeared in 52 wins himself.

He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection. In 2023, he was second on the team with 65 tackles including 3.5 for loss with three sacks, five quarterback hurries, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two pass breakups.

In a game versus Maryland, Barrett broke his facemask on a play. It's something he shared head coach John Harbaugh (now with the Los Angeles Chargers) kept as a memento and example of what to do. As to what that lesson is, Barrett said, "Coming in to the contact with bad intentions, that's the goal every time."

Barrett began his career as an outside linebacker/safety hybrid, before being shifted more inside as a weak side backer or in Dime. At 5'11" and 233 pounds, Barrett knows he's smaller for a linebacker, but is confident he's developed a game that is uniquely his own and proven capable of success.

"Just doing what I do, just going out there, making plays, regardless of being undersized, regardless of—I really don't see the size thing as like being an issue, like none of that matters," Barrett declared.

"I'm taking on a block, like, I don't have to be the biggest one to slip that block or go around and to make that tackle. There's other ways to make a tackle than to take on a block or to, to do it the basic way.

"Just being able to use your hands, like just kind of being undersized, you got to do everything a little, just that one step more than, everybody else."

Given his background and how coaches see him being used in the NFL, Barrett will presumably fight for time as a reserve inside linebacker, but with the ability to play closer to the ball in certain looks. The Panthers have numbers at the WILL position, but the opportunity for snaps is open for Barrett.

He'll arrive for rookie minicamp prepared to state his case as well. Asked if he's carrying a chip on his shoulder, Barrett pointed out his size and constant narrative of being underestimated.

"I got a whole bag of chips!"

View photos of Michigan linebacker, Michael Barrett, drafted by Carolina in the seventh round of the 2024 draft.

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