Scouting Report:  Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

By: Pete Davidson : April 07, 2013 3:24pm

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Barner fits the bill for our Twenty Players in Twenty Days theme. We’ll be posting early scouting reports on some of the players we feel are under-appreciated so far. We’re going to be singing about the unsung, and that’s just what Barner is.

For some reason, Oregon’s starting tailback gets a lot less love than other backs with great statistics. Now, the stats are just stats and we’re not into college numbers at all since you don’t get to take them with you to the next level. Still, where’s there’s smoke, there is often fire, so why are so many so quick to dismiss the Oregon star?

It could be his size, but there are plenty of 195 pound backs in the NFL that get it done on a weekly basis. Barner checks in at 196 and looks like he’ll settle in at about 200 when all is said and done. He’s got a solid NFL frame and holding up to a heavy workload is becoming less and less of a factor these days, as teams limit touches for all backs, both big and small.

Perhaps Barner is seen as a system player, and Chip Kelly certainly ran a good system out in Oregon ... good enough, in fact, to land him an NFL gig in Philly. Nevertheless, Barner is the guy piling-up yardage and breaking tackles. He’s the guy Kelly chose to use as his starter.

When Barner runs the ball, he looks like a bigger version of Darren Sproles, though he is not yet the phenomenal receiver that Sproles is. With the right coaching, he could get there. He has the ability.

The Oregon product has insanely quick feet to readjust after contact. He runs with excellent vision and he runs in control--staying behind his pads. His strong fundamentals indicate that he accepts coaching well, and Chip Kelly knows how to coach backs. Barner uses every one of his 196 pounds to his advantage. He is going to be a good pro back.

Things we like about Kenjon....

  • Surprisingly good after contact for his size.
  • Keeps his feet moving through contact.
  • Runs with outstanding vision.
  • A decisive downhill runner.
  • Follows his blocks and trusts the play.
  • Can run inside, but can also get outside.
  • Does not over-cut. He’s not a dancer or a “juker.”

Basically, you have a talented kid who is very coachable. He has some things to learn, especially in pass protection, which was not a big part of what they asked him to do at Oregon. The Eagles, if you believe reports, are shopping Dion Lewis. If they manage to move him, that could be a precursor to drafting Barner.

As I say too often about rookies, this player’s redraft value and long term value will have a lot to do with his NFL destination. While Kelly’s system would make Barner a great fit, the Eagles also have two big talents at the top of the depth chart. The ideal fantasy destination for him would be a team like the Jets or the Packers. It’s tough to tell when a lot of the tailbacks will be drafted in such a deep class. Barner could go anywhere from the second to the fifth round.

I’ll be back with another unsung player tomorrow. Here’s a quick look at Kenjon Barner.

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