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Mel Kiper Jr. Thinks J.T. Barrett Should Be An Undrafted Free Agent

J.T. Barrett celebrating an Ohio State touchdown.

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 29: J.T. Barrett #16 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the USC Trojans in the first half during the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic at AT&T Stadium on December 29, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

J.T. Barrett has been one of the better quarterbacks in college football over the last few years. His NFL prospects are up in the air.

Barrett did a lot of winning during his Ohio State career. Filling in for an injured Braxton Miller, Barrett led Ohio State to the Big Ten Championship Game as a redshirt freshman in 2014.

He was injured late in a win over Michigan, and Cardale Jones stepped in to finish a run to the national title. Barrett eventually won the job back from Jones during the 2015 season, and while his numbers didn't always jump off the page for the rest of his collegiate career.

During his full career, Barrett played 50 games, with 44 starts and a 38-6 record in those games. He threw for 9,434 career yards, 104 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions, and ran for 3,263 yards and 43 touchdowns.

There are questions about his passing ability, as it translates to the next level. Right now, it seems unlikely that he will be picked in the first few rounds of the NFL Draft.

That is, if he is picked at all. During a conference call with reporters, ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. said that J.T. Barrett could be an undrafted free agent.

Kiper isn't the first to question Barrett's NFL potential. Earlier this month, the NFL published scouts' strengths and weakness for the Buckeye signal caller. From that latter group:

Weaknesses: “Operation time and ball handling are a little slow. Not a naturally accurate passer. Makes receivers work too hard. Ball placement can be a struggle even on swing passes and short throws. Completed a measly 28 percent of his throws over 21 yards this season. Seam curls come wide open and he will opt for safe throws in middle of the field. Misses opportunities to challenge safeties.

Gets it out a step late on intermediate and deep throws. Halts progressions early rather than allowing route development. Three-quarter release makes him short in the pocket and allows defenders to maul his pass attempts. Release and arm strength are below average. Allows rushers to get on top of him.”

That NFL evaluation also has him as a seventh rounder or undrafted free agent. Someone will take a shot on J.T. Barrett, whether in the draft or in the days following, but he will have a lot to prove at the next level.