Lamin Barrow embraces his West Bank pride

MOBILE, Ala. — In the past decade or so, New Orleans’ West Bank has produced more than its fair share of NFL players.

Former LSU linebacker Lamin Barrow, who grew up in Marrero and graduated from John Ehret High, pridefully can rattle off most of the names in the blink of an eye.

There’s Reggie Wayne, Ryan Clark, Keenan Lewis, Ike Taylor, Mike Wallace, Kendrick Lewis, Drake Nevis and Lavar Edwards.

Come May, Barrow and former LSU teammate Anthony Johnson, a defensive tackle, should add their names to the impressive list.

“We take a lot of pride in performing for our city,” Barrow said with a smile. “We all grew up on the West Bank. … I feel like taking a flag and putting it on my back.

“Ryan Clark comes back to LSU to work out all the time, and I get pointers from him. Reggie Wayne, I’ve seen around a lot (in the offseason). We look up to those guys. We know what they’ve done, so we’re just trying to be a part of that.”

While he laid the groundwork for his future during his five-year stint with LSU’s highly rated defense — especially during stellar junior and senior seasons — Barrow took another big step in that direction in Senior Bowl workouts this week.

On Saturday, he’ll be playing against some of the nation’s top seniors in the North-South all-star game in Ladd-Peebles Stadium and trying to improve his stock even more for the May 8-10 draft.

Considering the school he comes from, Barrow wasn’t shocked to see the speed that was on the field Monday for his first Senior Bowl practice. As a result of his LSU training, he was well-prepared for it.

“They have a lot of elite talent here,” said Barrow, who lined up at inside linebacker after playing outside in LSU’s 4-3 scheme. “Some of these guys are the best players in the country. But coming from the SEC, that prepared me for the speed. To see how fast these guys are moving — it’s something I’ve seen before.”

Barrow noted that was a big advantage for himself, despite the position change, and safety Craig Loston, a former LSU teammate, throughout the week of practice.

Barrow hopes to parlay a 26-game starting streak for the Tigers, in which he recorded 104 and 91 tackles in his final two seasons, and a strong showing in the game to move up team’s draft boards. As of Friday, he was projected as a fourth-round pick and was ranked sixth among inside linebackers available for the draft by NFLDraftScout.com.

Like most of the other players, Barrow said it was beneficial to be coached by members of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ staff.

“The coaches here have been telling me to keep playing hard and keep my motor up,” he said. “Sometimes I might lack a little bit, so I just have to be consistent. That’s a key for me. We see a lot of speed in the SEC, but here you have everybody step for step with you. That’s kind of crazy, so you have to compete on each and every play.”

The added experience has been invaluable, Barrow said.

“I learned a lot from these coaches this week,” he said. “You meet a lot of coaches and scouts, and you kind of see where you fall and what teams think about you.”

He certainly wouldn’t mind if the team that plays just across the Mississippi River from his home were to choose him in May.

“I’d love it, but I think my family would love it more,” Barrow said. “I grew up a Saints boy. But whoever picks me, I’ll be glad and play my heart out for them.”