RB Kansas State
Alex Barnes is a throwback to a different era of running back. I kept expecting to hear Harry Kalas narrate Barnes’s game tape, the booming voice of NFL Films chronicling each cutback and blitz pickup.
Barnes is a very good downhill runner who has power enough to break tackles and enough leg drive to bring a defender with him for a few extra yards as well. His inside vision is exceptional, and he often makes the first tackler miss. Instead of a jump cut, Barnes uses what is almost a slide-step, avoiding defenders while not sacrificing his downhill speed. Barnes has very natural hands, especially for a player with his size, and was utilized often on swing passes.
Barnes isn’t a homerun hitter or a speedster; nearly all of his damage is done inside the hash-marks. He doesn’t exactly lack patience, but often his patience is mistimed. Instead of heading downhill on the attack, Barnes gets caught testing the line for weakness. When this happens, a short gain becomes a three or four yard loss. Barnes also will forgo a hole to the outside while he waits for something inside to develop.
The NFL has shifted away from power backs to the new breed of do-it-all pass catchers, but Alex Barnes might just have a foot in both worlds. He’s a sneaky pick to earn a three down role.