Kenjon Barner was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Before we take a look at what the future may hold for Barner, let me remind you of what he did while at Oregon.
- As a true freshman in 2009, Barner rushed for 366 yards on 61 attempts and three touchdowns. He also returned one kickoff for a touchdown.
- As a sophomore in 2010, Barner rushed for 551 yards on 91 attempts and six touchdowns. He was on the receiving end of two touchdowns and scored another one via punt return.
- As a junior in 2011, Barner rushed for 939 yards on 152 attempts. He racked up a total of 11 rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns.
- Finally, as a senior in 2012, Barner gained 1767 yards on the ground on 278 attempts to go along with 21 rushing touchdowns. He rushed for a startling 6.4 YPC (yards per carry). Barner also caught two touchdown passes through the air.
Kenjon Barner is a versatile athlete that can help the Panthers in special teams and out of the backfield.
How does Barner fit in the Panthers' offense?
Barner should be a nice counter to DeAngelo Williams. Barner is an electric runner that will use his speed to bounce outside just like he did at Oregon. However in the NFL, defenders are much smarter and have superior athletic abilities. It will be interesting to see if Barner’s type of game will translate to the Panthers offense.
Barner will also benefit from the spread offense that Carolina will most likely run with quarterback Cam Newton. This will benefit Barner because he played in the high-powered spread offense of Oregon and this should translate well to Carolina. Barner can also be featured as a third-down back because of his capability of catching the ball out of the backfield.
Barner will be waiting in Williams’ wings, but there is no doubt he can be a featured NFL back. He will have to improve his technique and prove that he can run through contact in the NFL. He will also have to become a capable pass blocker or else he will just become a change-of-pace running back in the NFL.
Can Barner make an impact in year 1?
Barner is capable of making an impact in his rookie season. He can affect the game on the special team’s side of the ball with his returning skills and speed. Barner is also a capable receiver out of the backfield on third down plays. He will not be featured that much because of Williams, but when he is the game, Barner should have an impact on what the Panthers do.
Barner is a running back that possesses excellent speed with quick feet and good vision. He is a fairly patient runner that has a great change of direction and pace. His experience running different zone read option plays, and his capabilities in the receiving game make him a good prospect for the Panthers. Whether he gets on the field will depend on his blocking skills and proving that he can run between the gaps.
Don’t look for Barner to be a major contributor on fantasy football teams this year. He will not be featured much unless Williams goes down with an injury. He will maybe catch a few touchdowns out of the backfield and help on special teams, but the carries won’t be there for Barner to make a significant impact on fantasy football teams.