Kenjon Barner Scouting Report

February 9th, 2013

Kenjon Barner could be a nice 5th round fit for the Lions (Photo courtesy GoDucks.com)

QB / RB / FB / WR / TE / OT / OG / OC / DT / DE / OLB / ILB / CB / SAF
Prospect: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
Height: 5’9”
Weight: 188
Grade: 6.5 (Grading Scale)


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

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. Factor in that he will turn 24 on draft weekend, making him overaged for a rookie. For those reasons Barner should not be picked any earlier than the fifth round.–Darren Page @DarrenPage15

Scouting Notes:
Oregon vs. Washington State
• Makes a sharp cut to bounce first carry outside before utilizing speed to win around the edge, walks into the endzone
• Tries to cut an outside run up inside where the traffic is when defensive end gets push, gives up on the edge too quickly
• Goes unconvered on a sideline fly route out of the backfield, slows up for the ball and awkwardly makes the catch for a touchdown
• Trips over the heels of a blocker as he tries to make a cut and goes down, ran up on his heels, slow recognition of the hole
• Eludes the oncoming safety on an outside sweep, runs right up on his blocker trying to make an inside cut and defender is able to get an arm to him
• Makes perfect cut-up on edge sweep to elude the penetrating defender, freezes defense by pausing behind downfield blocker, takes off up the sidelines untouched for a long touchdown

Oregon vs. USC
• Stays behind blocks effectively to maximize yardage on a toss
• Makes nice inside cut on a zone read behind right tackle, bounces run quickly after and into the open field, slips a poor tackle right before crossing goal-line
• Bounces run from inside zone to the right to the left edge quickly when defense pinches inside, testament to lateral agility
• Shows speed to win around the edge against defenders with an angle to score from five yards out
• Stops feet against initial inside penetration, somehow eludes first defender and bounces it outside to barely reach first down marker
• Slips first tackle on an inside zone with a strong cut before accelerating through large hole for a touchdown
• Uses blocks perfectly on a toss play before running out of bounds at the end of the run
• Continually making first tackler miss, indictment against USC’s defense really
• Bounces off a weak tackle are catching a wide open checkdown pass, gains a few extra yards
• Aims for the pylon perfectly on a sweep inside the ten, effectively gains space with subtle outside cuts against pursuing defenders
• Walks into the endzone for easy touchdowns twice late in the fourth quarter against a drained defense, showing good stamina

Oregon vs. Kansas State
• Little room to operate on outside sweep, runs out of bounds voluntarily to accept a three yard loss
• Beats defender by a step on a fly route up the sidelines, fails to locate the ball, still looking for it when it lands right in front of him
• Instinctively turns a checkdown route upfield when Marcus Mariota begins to scramble, wide open for a touchdown
• Consistently making great cuts behind his blockers, effectively bouncing runs from inside to outside
• One defender to beat for a long touchdown after breaking into second level cleanly, can’t break through the low tackle
• Effective stiff arm on Arthur Brown on the edge, beat him with speed first though

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