Prospect: Kenjon Barner, RB, OregonKenjon Barner

Height: 5’9¼”

Weight: 196 lb.

Athleticism:

  • Flashes top notch open field speed in the open field and as a returner
  • Nimble feet to make quick cuts and change directions smoothly
  • Burst out of his cuts and ability to accelerate through holes is merely average
  • Very small frame and overall strength as runner is very disappointing

Intelligence/Effort:

  • Recognition and reaction skills delayed, often ran right up the backs of his blockers because he was slow to anticipate holes opening
  • Versatile player who can impact the game as a runner, pass-catcher, and returner with experience in all facets

Pass Protection:

  • Very inexperience as a pass protector, comes from a scheme in which he was rarely asked to do it
  • Few occasions in which he had blocking duties were far from inspiring, looked disinterested, indecisive, and passive
  • Lack of core strength and small frame mean little potential for pass blocking

Route Runner:

  • Has experience running routes from split end position and from the backfield
  • Active receiver who works to get open when plays break down
  • Very effective receiver of screen passes and swing passes for the Ducks

Hands and Carrying:

  • Pins the ball to his chest effectively, keeps it there effectively in the open field
  • Had his fair share of fumbles as an underclassmen, steadily improved his ball security
  • Will hold the ball in either hand but doesn’t like to switch, will expose it to the defense occasionally
  • Reliable pass catcher who is comfortable catching with his hands

Rushing:

  • Ability on the perimeter is the saving grace of his running ability
  • Has speed and lateral quickness to consistently win around the corner, then uses the threat to get the defense to overextend and cuts underneath defenders
  • Loves to use a stiff arm on the edge, mixed results due to short arm length
  • Vision very undeveloped, operates far better in space, lacks anticipation to pick his way through traffic
  • Small runner who can squeeze through tight gaps and has a nice jump-cut
  • Changes direction behind his blockers very well, bounces runs outside very effectively
  • Picks up very few yards after first contact, goes down to far too many arm tackles
  • Struggles to improvise when play design fails, becomes indecisive and dances too much
  • Very limited in short yardage situations due to lack of strength from lower half and overall physicality
  • Inconsistent ability to finish runs, will lower his pads and fight through contact on occasion

Overall:

The Oregon offense didn’t miss a beat when they slid Kenjon Barner into the role of the now 49ers back LaMichael James.  Barner had by far his most productive season, both as a runner and pass-catcher.  As far as production goes, it gets no better than his 321 yard and 5 touchdown game on the ground against USC.  Barner isn’t that close to the prospect that James was unfortunately.  He doesn’t show the same effectiveness between the tackles and isn’t as physical as a smaller back.  Barner is simply a finesse, speed back who can add value on passing downs.  He has positive value as a pass catcher.  He showed that ability at the Senior Bowl and on tape.  Even then though, he’s going to have to learn how to pass block despite not having a great build for it.  His only immediate contribution will be in the return game, where he’s able to put his speed and lateral quickness to good use.  Barner has some nice tools to his ground game, mainly his ability to press the edge and stretch a defense horizontally.  But he’s simply not an all-around back who can be counted on down in and down out right now, and for that reason should not be picked any earlier than the fifth round.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: Kenjon Barner Scouting Report

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