In the early days of training camp, the Jets signed a few new players and we’ll be breaking them down in depth for you over the next week or so. Today, we break down cornerback Luq Barcoo in detail.
The 24-year old Barcoo is listed at 6’1” and 175 pounds and was undrafted out of San Diego State in 2020. He has played in three NFL games, starting one. Barcoo led the nation in interceptions and passes defensed in his senior year at San Diego State.
Barcoo was a three-star prospect out of high school, but didn’t receive any offers after his senior year, which was disrupted by injuries. He instead opted to go down the junior college route and enrolled at Grossmont Community College.
In his first year with the Griffins, Barcoo intercepted two passes and broke up four more, but then in his second season, they opted to move him to wide receiver. He caught 35 passes for 767 yards and seven touchdowns and also recorded five tackles and an interception in limited defensive duties.
Barcoo transferred to San Diego State in 2018, where he went back to being a full-time cornerback. He had 20 tackles, an interception and four pass break-ups in a reserve role in his first season.
As a senior, he became a full time starter and broke out with an NCAA-high nine interceptions and 16 pass break-ups. This included a sequence against Colorado State where he intercepted three consecutive pass attempts. Barcoo also had a career-high 55 tackles as he was named as an all-Mountain West first-teamer and a second-team all-American.
Despite these numbers, Barcoo wasn’t invited to the scouting combine, although he did play in the East-West Shrine Bowl. He was regarded as a potential late round pick in the 2020 draft but after he was unselected, the Jaguars shelled out a big signing bonus to get him on board as an undrafted free agent.
Barcoo saw action in three games, starting one, during his rookie year, as he was mostly a healthy scratch. He had 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass defensed but struggled overall in those three games as he got beaten for a couple of touchdowns and had some missed tackles and penalties.
In 2021, the Jaguars released Barcoo in final cuts and he has since spent time with Arizona, San Francisco and Kansas City but didn’t see any action with any of these teams.
Now let’s take a look at what Barcoo brings to the table, divided into categories.
Barcoo has good height and long arms but he is wiry and doesn’t seem to have the kind of frame you can easily add weight to.
Since he wasn’t invited to the combine and there was no pro day for him to attend due to Covid-19 protocols, he set up his own pro day and put up an impressive 4.41 in the 40-yard dash with a 41-inch vertical.
Barcoo has played almost exclusively as an outside cornerback both in college and at the NFL level.
As noted, he had experience of playing at wide receiver in his second year at Grossmont, as well as in high school.
Barcoo put up good coverage numbers at San Diego State, where he allowed a completion percentage of below 50 percent. He did give up a few big plays though.
There isn’t much good film on Barcoo at the pro level, since he was thrown in at the deep end with the Jaguars in regular season action. He also hasn’t played in preseason due to 2020’s preseason being cancelled and being banged up in 2021.
Nevertheless, he was tested plenty in his regular season appearances and he was often in a good position, but opposing offenses had some good success throwing his way due to his lack of experience and size. It’s interesting to note, however, that the Jaguars were the league’s worst team but were competitive in both of the games where Barcoo played a full-time role.
At times, Barcoo will give his man too much of a cushion, perhaps overestimating his closing speed and ability to jump routes.
On this fourth down play he is able to stay with his man initially, but can’t react in time when the receiver breaks back sharply to the ball.
On this deep ball, Barcoo runs alongside the receiver, but his lack of strength is exposed as the receiver basically boxes him out by keeping him on his hip for the over-the-shoulder catch.
As noted, Barcoo had some spectacular numbers in 2019 in terms of making plays on the ball and he flashed those abilities here.
With his experience as a wide receiver, Barcoo goes after the ball aggressively. However, going up against NFL receivers he seemed to have less success in breaking up passes because they were usually too strong for him at the catch-point.
Barcoo didn’t miss a ton of tackles in college but he had a few issues in NFL action as he overran a few plays and had a couple of plays where a ball carrier ran over him or fell forward as they were tackled at the end of a run. He also had this whiff in space.
While he was in college, Barcoo didn’t have any forced fumbles at San Diego State or with Grossmont.
Barcoo is competitive but his lightweight frame is an issue. He gets completely dominated by a tight end on this running play.
He has some experience in press coverage but his lack of strength and a tendency to be too upright at the jam can affect him here too.
As San Diego State, Barcoo had six penalties, five of which were in his senior year. He was twice called for pass interference in his three NFL games too, although this one was arguably a smart business decision.
While you wouldn’t expect much of a run support contribution from a 175-pound corner playing on the outside, Barcoo graded out quite well in college, where he had five tackles for loss in his senior year. He shows his abilities against the run here.
There is concern though about his durability if he needs to contribute in run support regularly and he can obviously struggle to shed blocks. On one 3rd-and-long running play with the Jaguars, he tried to make the play on the edge but the back ran right over him, although his teammates still made the stop to force the punt.
Barcoo didn’t blitz during his NFL appearances, nor did he blitz much in college. He did, however, register a couple of pressures and this half-sack at San Diego State.
Although he runs well, Barcoo hasn’t contributed much on special teams with durability and size once again being concerns. He had some brief action in kick and punt coverage in his first season at San Diego State, but in his second season he just rushed kicks and punts and took some reps in the vice role.
At Grossmont, Barcoo returned four kickoffs for 63 yards and also successfully kicked an extra point.
Barcoo is regarded as an instinctive player with good positional sense and anticipation. However, his route recognition can be lacking at times.
He wasn’t involved in any obvious blown coverages during his three games in the regular season with Jacksonville.
Barcoo is yet another addition who says he plays with a chip on his shoulder. His defensive backs coach at San Diego State praised his tremendous work ethic and he obviously has a dedicated and mature approach to the game.
He admitted he struggled with some of the new techniques he was learning at the Shrine Bowl and with the complexities of the system when making the jump from JUCO level to San Diego State, but worked hard to improve in these areas.
Injuries had more of an effect at the beginning of Barcoo’s career, although he did initially fail his physical with the Cardinals for undisclosed reasons and was twice placed on Covid-19 reserve at the NFL level.
In high school he had a torn hamstring, even displaying his toughness by entering a key game when injured to catch a short touchdown pass. He also missed a couple of games with a hamstring injury in college.
Barcoo has played both zone and man, with some press responsibilities, and should have some familiarity with the Jets’ system having spent three months on the 49ers’ practice squad, albeit that this was after Robert Saleh’s departure.
During his career, he’s played with several players who are now his teammates with the Jets. These include Chris Streveler, Laken Tomlinson, Marcell Harris, Kai Nacua, Will Parks and Quincy Williams.
Barcoo is an interesting player, who has to be regarded as a long-term project. He has some good traits which could see him being groomed for a specialist role, but there are also some obvious limitations.
With his inability to establish himself as a special teams contributor so far in his career, Barcoo is a major long-shot to make it onto the Jets’ active roster unless there are a series of injuries, but he should factor into the competition well at the bottom end of the roster and will look to put some good things on film in preseason.