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Old 11-12-2012, 02:55 PM    (permalink
Caulibflower
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Default Kenjon Barner, RB - Oregon



5'11" 195 lbs.

On the small side, but has serious speed to make up for it. Has great balance, acceleration, vision and body control, and he's very decisive and hits his lanes hard. He's good in the receiving game. Falls forward when he's tackled and finishes runs aggressively. When you realize that he's a speed back, his physicality says a lot to me. In some ways, I want to call him a poor-man's Chris Johnson, but he runs harder. In the prospect comparison thread I called him a miniature version of Walter Payton based on some elements of his running style. Those, of course, are stylistic comparisons and not predictions of his level of NFL success, but I like him better than I liked LaMichael James last year and wouldn't have any problem with a team taking him in the second round. Depending on how the offseason goes - say his 40 time at the combine puts him closer to Chris Johnson territory than people anticipate - I think he's definitely in contention to be the first running back taken in this draft.

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Old 11-12-2012, 09:20 PM    (permalink
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Really? No one has an opinion on a Heisman frontrunner's professional prospects? How can a guy who's never averaged less than 6 YPC in a season, who is a good bet to run 4.40 or lower at the combine, whose program has produced several quality pro running backs in recent years, who has a strong, slashing running style and relatively low mileage for a senior runner (Thanks, LaMichael) have such a lukewarm reception? This isn't Mike Hart, folks.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:58 PM    (permalink
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I like him. Think a team like Green Bay he would be perfect for.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:11 PM    (permalink
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Really? No one has an opinion on a Heisman frontrunner's professional prospects? How can a guy who's never averaged less than 6 YPC in a season, who is a good bet to run 4.40 or lower at the combine, whose program has produced several quality pro running backs in recent years, who has a strong, slashing running style and relatively low mileage for a senior runner (Thanks, LaMichael) have such a lukewarm reception? This isn't Mike Hart, folks.
Quality pro RBs? Not sure I agree with that one. Either way, he doesn't profile as an NFL starter. May be the best of the RBs recently from there (James, Thomas,) but doesn't mean much.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:26 PM    (permalink
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Better pro prospect than James IMO. He will be a good change of pace/3rd down back.
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I wouldn't be sir prized if he passed McCoy on the depth chart. I think he might have a better arm and accurate arm then him from the highlights I thought. He also got some wheels too help us prepare for QB's as Wilson , RG3 and other runners etc.
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Old 11-13-2012, 12:13 AM    (permalink
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Quality pro RBs? Not sure I agree with that one. Either way, he doesn't profile as an NFL starter. May be the best of the RBs recently from there (James, Thomas,) but doesn't mean much.
There's a pretty good precedent for Oregon running backs being considered viable prospects over the last decade with Maurice Morris, Jonathan Stewart and LaMichael James all being drafted in the first two rounds. We expect Thomas to be an early round pick, too. If you don't want to call that a precedent you don't have to, but at the very least it's clear that Oregon attracts NFL talent at the position. As to your other point - we hardly know what an "NFL starter" even is anymore at running back. Does the 5'11", 195 lb CJ Spiller "profile as a starter?" Does Chris Johnson? Jamaal Charles? Jahvid Best? Barner hasn't gotten the attention those guys did in college due to being on such a loaded team, but he's a similar type of player. Teams show every year that they'll take a dynamic player in the first two rounds of the draft even if they don't expect him to carry the ball 20+ times a game because what they're looking for is to add an explosive element to their offense, not to find a player to simply be their offense. I'm not arguing that Barner should be drafted because Oregon has produced some good running backs in recent years, but that I'm surprised hardly anyone's even talking about him.
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Old 11-13-2012, 01:58 AM    (permalink
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This is a scary topic for me to post in only because of how much I swooned watching the USC game.

Because I know I like him so much, lets start with what I don't like about him. It's pretty much consensus that Barner doesn't have the ability to pound the rock up the middle with great success. He may not even have the abilit to carry a full load as a feature back. And he's had some nicks that have slowed him down and kept him off the field.

With that said, this dude looks like he's a really quality player. He could make a big impact for an offense with his speed. And for all his size issues and the fact that he won't be effective running up the middle on a regular basis, Barner does not go down on first contact. This guy isn't going to power through many defenders who square him up, but Barner has absolutely incredible balance and be keeps his legs going which tends to keep his feet under him when defenders try to arm tackle him.

Barner is quick in and out of cuts, he is decisive and sees the field well, he has break away speed and if you don't square him up, a 4 yard run will be a 14 yard run. He doesn't use his hips to juke many people, but he does a great job keeping his hips level and low to help with his balance. And he could be deadly on swing passes and screens in the passing game as well.

He has the talent to be an impact player in the NFL.
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:58 AM    (permalink
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I liked Chris Thompson better. Too bad he tore his ACL.

I would rather have Kerwynn Williams at a lower draft slot over Barner.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:47 AM    (permalink
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I don't see several quality NFL running backs from Oregon. Stewart is solid but has plenty of injury problems. Blount has been been passed by in Tampa. James is still an unknown. A decent pick in the draft doesn't mean they became solid players. The recent history of Oregon RBs isn't a positive thing really for Barner.

Return ability?
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:07 AM    (permalink
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He looks like a KR/3rd down RB.

Oregon RBs lately aren't guys who are going to give you great statistical production, or even average contributions in the NFL.

Don't the Ducks have a weight room?? Many of their RBs leave that program looking more like WRs, not RBs.

If he were 210#, he'd be a more interesting prospect.
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Old 11-13-2012, 05:04 AM    (permalink
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I don't see several quality NFL running backs from Oregon. Stewart is solid but has plenty of injury problems. Blount has been been passed by in Tampa. James is still an unknown. A decent pick in the draft doesn't mean they became solid players. The recent history of Oregon RBs isn't a positive thing really for Barner.
I forgot Blount. Knew there was another one. You're going to argue that this guy isn't a "quality" NFL talent?


Tell me which colleges have a better history. Which ones have produced a higher number of players to get multiple NFL starts at the position over the last five years?

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He looks like a KR/3rd down RB.
That's what they said about the other players I mentioned. He's had two return TDs in college, so it's reasonable to expect he could help a team in a variety of ways. Really don't see why he can't go right in the neighborhood of where LaMichael went last year, and maybe higher due to this being a weak year for running backs.

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Oregon RBs lately aren't guys who are going to give you great statistical production, or even average contributions in the NFL.
This just doesn't make sense. Jonathan Stewart was terrific last year, and has never gotten the chance to carry the load with DeAngelo Williams always having been there. He's been injured this year and Carolina as a team hasn't been playing well. LaMichael James isn't playing because no rookies are playing in San Francisco. Blount surely has the talent to play in the NFL. At this point, you can't rag on him for getting passed up on the depth chart in favor of Doug Martin. He's always shown an ability to give a team strong running. I'm not taking the Oregon angle to say he'll be a superstar, but just that the guys who've come out of there lately have all been significant contributors to their offenses, and let's be serious - this is the NFL, and coaches play their best guys. Oregon's running game is well-represented in NFL backfields. The other thing is, again, that this is a weak year for running backs. In saying he might be the number one back in this class, I'm kind of implicitly inferring that it could be midway through the second round before a running back gets picked. I still like running backs, but even I'm having trouble coming up with a guy I'm comfortable calling a first rounder this year.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:45 AM    (permalink
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A run against the Packers D isn't a very good indicator here brosef.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:05 AM    (permalink
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He would be a really good fit for team’s that run out of a lot of shotgun formations. I’m really hoping he’s a Lion next season, and I wouldn’t mind Mayhew trading up to the late second/early third to get him. He would be a great replacement for Best, and a nice compliment to Mikel.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:28 AM    (permalink
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There's a pretty good precedent for Oregon running backs being considered viable prospects over the last decade with Maurice Morris, Jonathan Stewart and LaMichael James all being drafted in the first two rounds.
They have a history of prospects but not necessarily a history of success. I just don't see that as a positive or negative for Barner. On his own accord, not sure I see this top tier prospect yet. Could someone take a Top 100 chance? Of course, especially with his athleticism, but often times these types of players (Lamichael James, Dexter McCluster, and others come to mind,) don't always live up to that billing or draft position
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:31 AM    (permalink
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I like him. Think a team like Green Bay he would be perfect for.
I would like to see that. For some reason they've been drafting bigger backs. I think they like the size in pass protection to take on blitzing LBers but I'd like to see what a guy like Barner could do.
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:56 AM    (permalink
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Barner will be a complementary piece to a team that has the luxury of taking the gamble. At least, that the best chance he has to succeed in the NFL. Think Darren Sproles' role with the Chargers & Saints.


If he goes to a team that needs him to be more than a 3rd down/passing down back, he'll struggle. He may get some highlight reel worthy runs, but he won't be consistant.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:06 PM    (permalink
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A run against the Packers D isn't a very good indicator here brosef.
Haha. I was thinking that before I posted the picture, but anyone who watches Sportscenter on a regular basis has seen LeGarrett Blount make the top-10 plays more than once. I'm not saying he's among the league's best, but he's certainly a quality player. In retrospect, not someone you'd regret having spent a second round pick on, at least in my opinion.

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They have a history of prospects but not necessarily a history of success. I just don't see that as a positive or negative for Barner. On his own accord, not sure I see this top tier prospect yet. Could someone take a Top 100 chance? Of course, especially with his athleticism, but often times these types of players (Lamichael James, Dexter McCluster, and others come to mind,) don't always live up to that billing or draft position
I agree - I suppose part of what I'm thinking about is that while there have been a lot of Oregon prospects, they haven't necessarily been superstars, and so it seems like people are just saying, "Yeah, I don't think Kenjon Barner's going to be that guy, either." without appreciating what he does offer.

Jonathan Stewart has not helped his team as much as the 13th overall pick of the draft is normally expected to. BUT - you have to look at why that is. He was drafted in '08 because DeAngelo Williams, the other first round pick, had not lived up to expectations himself. If Jonathan Stewart had simply had the 800+ rushing yards and 10 TDs he had in a vacuum, you would think that's acceptable production for the 13th pick in his rookie year. When you realize that in the same year DeAngelo Williams found his groove and ran for another 1500+ yards and had 20 TDs on his own, you realize that Carolina has something crazy going on in their run game. The next year DeAngelo was still starting, because he'd earned it, and continued about the same level of production except for missing some games to injury, which gave Stewart more opportunities, and he took advantage of them, going over 1200 yards from scrimmage with 11 TDs. Again - acceptable production for his draft position. the next year was a terrible year for Carolina - that was the Jimmy Clausen/Matt Moore experiment, and I'm not going to start saying Jonathan Stewart was overdrafted after two years of him looking like was drafted right where he should've been simply because his team collapsed. Then came Cam Newton, and Stewart again had a great year, showing he could be a valuable asset in the passing game as well as setting a career-high in YPC. And then this year Carolina has sort of imploded all over again, and when people see that they get a little revisionist. Jonathan Stewart has been a good, albeit a bit injury-prone player who hasn't gotten a ton of opportunities due to having another very good running back competing for the same carries.

At any rate, if the Carolina Panthers had gotten Stewart in the second round they'd consider him a steal. We can't judge James yet, because we haven't seen him. But my larger point is that even if Oregon running backs aren't the best in the league, the program is undeniably producing running backs who are valuable to their teams and see a lot of playing time. In the context of that, I wonder why Kenjon Barner isn't getting even a fraction of the attention LaMichael James was getting last year. What Oregon hasn't produced at running back is a bust, and so I wonder what is keeping people from being excited about Barner, at least in light of the attention James got, aside from just being accustomed to Oregon's lead running back having huge stats, and so tend to think of their players as "system players." Obviously, a program which is producing huge individual stats for its players year-in and year-out makes you take those stats with a grain of salt, but when you look at how those players have established themselves as very viable players, and when you look at some of the games Barner has had (USC, notably), it seems a little odd to me not that there are people who don't think he'll be a team's primary running back (because we all know he doesn't profile as one), but that there are so few people who look at him and see the kind of "wrinkle" player who get drafted in the first couple of rounds every year. Again - I put him in the CJ Spiller, Chris Johnson, Jahvid Best, etc. category as a type of player; the kind of running back he is. There's a precident both for those types of players to be selected high, and also for Oregon running backs proving that they can play in the NFL, so I wonder how Barner draft stock doesn't seem to be benefitting from either of those facts.

I mean, honestly, it's not so much that I'm stumping for Barner as that to me, he is strangely inconspicuous in this year's draft conversation.
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Old 11-13-2012, 07:01 PM    (permalink
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He doesn't use his hips to juke many people, but he does a great job keeping his hips level and low to help with his balance.
Just re-read and noticed this - this is something I've noticed too, and it's really interesting to me. It's what makes me see a little of Chris Johnson in him, because Johnson does the same thing. It's why I'd call Barner a "slashing" running while LaMichael James is more of a jitterbug.

It's about varying speed. He's not just running as fast as he can and trying to juke people as fast as he can; he looks at the way defenders are running and how the defense is flowing, and then when he sees a lane he kicks it into that other gear, and suddenly he's in a different part of the field than the defender thought he was going to be. He's got that balance, and he uses it not to start and stop, but to run according to the bodies around him. He glides behind his blockers, just sorta sinking into the pockets of open field the blocks create, and then when it's up to him and he sees green in front of him, or he sees a tackler coming at him and that defender's angle and anticipation is based on the speed Barner's running behind his blockers, his acceleration is so sudden that he doesn't need to juke - the defender has already misjudged where he's going to be.

Or rather, the thing I like about him is that he doesn't go side-to-side too much when he's running. That's something that bugged me about LaMichael James - he had a lot of highlight reel runs, but if you can catch my drift, a 20-yard run for LaMichael takes longer than a 20-yard run by Kenjon Barner. Which isn't to say that Kenjon is faster than LaMichael, but that he gets downfield faster; he's not relying on moves so much, but gains his yards because of the way he moves. Kind of hard to explain, because it's hard to point to a specific instance of what I'm talking about.

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Old 11-13-2012, 07:39 PM    (permalink
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Just re-read and noticed this - this is something I've noticed too, and it's really interesting to me. It's what makes me see a little of Chris Johnson in him, because Johnson does the same thing. It's why I'd call Barner a "slashing" running while LaMichael James is more of a jitterbug.

It's about varying speed. He's not just running as fast as he can and trying to juke people as fast as he can; he looks at the way defenders are running and how the defense is flowing, and then when he sees a lane he kicks it into that other gear, and suddenly he's in a different part of the field than the defender thought he was going to be. He's got that balance, and he uses it not to start and stop, but to run according to the bodies around him. He glides behind his blockers, just sorta sinking into the pockets of open field the blocks create, and then when it's up to him and he sees green in front of him, or he sees a tackler coming at him and that defender's angle and anticipation is based on the speed Barner's running behind his blockers, his acceleration is so sudden that he doesn't need to juke - the defender has already misjudged where he's going to be.

Or rather, the thing I like about him is that he doesn't go side-to-side too much when he's running. That's something that bugged me about LaMichael James - he had a lot of highlight reel runs, but if you can catch my drift, a 20-yard run for LaMichael takes longer than a 20-yard run by Kenjon Barner. Which isn't to say that Kenjon is faster than LaMichael, but that he gets downfield faster; he's not relying on moves so much, but gains his yards because of the way he moves. Kind of hard to explain, because it's hard to point to a specific instance of what I'm talking about.

I think this analysis is exactly right. Earlier, I was higher on James than Barner, but I am not so sure now, especially after the USC game. James did do a better job of breaking tackles and remaining upright, but he was tackled for a loss more and ran laterally a lot more. James played cat-and-mouse with defenders with the way he used his blocks, while Barner uses his blocks to get upfield quickly.

I am not sure who is better and it probably depends on the team they are on. I have become convinced, however, that if either James or Barner ever becomes an every-down back, it will most likely be Barner, as his running style should translate better to the NFL. When Barner runs, he reminds me of Jamaal Charles, while James is more like Jacquizz Rodgers.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:42 PM    (permalink
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James played cat-and-mouse with defenders with the way he used his blocks, while Barner uses his blocks to get upfield quickly.
That's a good way to put it.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:53 PM    (permalink
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Watching a lot of Oregon last year and you could tell that Barner would be a better RB prospect than James.... He has great vision, makes good decisions, phenomenal acceleration, and knows when to go down or out of bounds. He also has shown the ability to catch the ball.

I was going to type more, but after reading some more posts, it seems like most of you see it as well..... Barner just looks like a pro running back in the way he runs.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:55 PM    (permalink
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The problem with evaluating Barner is simply that you don't know how he'll react in a real hole with real-time RB decisions.

That's not to say that he can't be good at it. But the evaluation is tough because there is way more projecting and predicting than with other backs in more traditional ZBSs or PBSs.

The OL splits are so wide and the offense is so fast and unique that Barner's vision and balance are rarely tested.

You don't produce on a football field the way he has without exceptional RB-specific skills. But his skillset has yet to be tested. This is a rare case where I'd look at his High School film, All-star game performances, and even combine tests more than I would with another prospect. I can't see a team using a high draft choice on this kid based on his Oregon film exclusively.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:59 PM    (permalink
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Hypothetically, say he comes to the combine and measures 5106 202 and runs a 4.35. How much are his measurements going to play into his draft stock? Do people just wish he was a little bigger? I'll freely admit that I think his 40 times is going to be one of the most critical at the combine, as far as the effect it has on specific players' draft stock. As much as I like his style, if he's a guy who runs a 4.5 at 195 lbs, it does bring him down a bit for me. That'd be the point where I'm thinking, "Yeah, this could be Dexter McCluster again."
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:15 PM    (permalink
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Hypothetically, say he comes to the combine and measures 5106 202 and runs a 4.35. How much are his measurements going to play into his draft stock? Do people just wish he was a little bigger? I'll freely admit that I think his 40 times is going to be one of the most critical at the combine, as far as the effect it has on specific players' draft stock. As much as I like his style, if he's a guy who runs a 4.5 at 195 lbs, it does bring him down a bit for me. That'd be the point where I'm thinking, "Yeah, this could be Dexter McCluster again."
I think a lot will come down to combine as well as all star games and drills as gpngc mentioned.

Barner needs to come in incredibly or bigger than expected. We see this all te time with the smaller players who do well in systems and play well in space. I think you are right--if Barner runs a 4.5 or even worse he will be a later pick. If he can run that blazing time he could be seen as a "home run threat".

If he somehow shows up with more bulk topping the scales over 200 as well as running an ultra fast 40, he is probably going to shoot up the draft boards.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:36 PM    (permalink
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All I've seen of him is the USC Game. He was simply amazing. There has to be a place for him somewhere in the NFL. I was amazed at how low he is ranked in mocks. If he doesn't dance and falls forward, that's great for a speed back. If you want to run a little guy up the gut, just have him follow a big ole FB. He doesn't have to smash through linebackers. They will never touch him. If you have a guy that is a notch faster than anybody you play against, I'd design the offense so that he wouldn't be asked to pass block. I'm serious about using him with a FB.
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