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Kenjon Barner Rising

Jul 31 2013 07:15 AM Zod Carolina Panthers
When the Carolina Panthers drafted RB Kenjon Barner in the 2013 NFL draft, there was a collective groan across the internet from Panthers fans. Another running back? What about our offensive line? The fans were upset, and some would say rightfully so.

However, it appears that this draft day gamble is paying off. Kenjon Barner is quickly rising in the ranks of the Panthers crowded offensive backfield. A crowded backfield is nothing new to him...

At college, I had LaGarrett Blount, LeMichael James, Andre Crenshaw, a lot of guys when I first moved to that position. Everyone has been asking how I feel about the crowded backfield. I don’t feel any way about it. I’m just going to continue to work hard and continue to show these coaches I can play and that I deserve to be here. At the end of the day, I’ll look up and see where I’m at. As far as the backfield being crowded, it doesn’t mean anything to me. You can’t worry about it.


On the first day of training camp, Barner saw time mainly with the 3rd and 4th string units. More recently he has been running with the second string unit led by Derrick Anderson. It appears Barner's stock is rising.

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Kenjon Barner

The transition from college to pros may not be as difficult for Barner than players from other systems. Having played under Chip Kelly in Oregon, Barner is accustomed to a higher paced pro style offense.

Barner has also shown to be a highly coachable player.

Kenjon's biggest concern coming out of college was his propensity to run upright, not staying low to the ground. Unlike Eric Shelton (who never corrected this problem), Barner has changed and now runs as low as any player on the roster. Running low gives defensive players less to wrap up and keeps the runner's center of gravity low, allowing for better balance.

The next concern about Barner was his pass protection ability. Again, Kenjon has shown great improvement in less than a week of camp. While pass protection is not his strength, he has shown the ability to at least hold off a defender should Cam Newton audible to a passing play from a run formation.

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Kenjon Barner

So what does all of this mean?

First, it means if Kenjon can continue to improve and prove himself throughout training camp and preseason, he may see real time this year. If that happens, the heavy financial load of a Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart backfield becomes a tempting target for GM David Gettleman. If Barner does have a solid year on a sixth round rookie salary, this will be the last year for either Williams or Stewart as a Panther.

Secondly, it could be the spark the Panthers running game has been missing. Barner has a quicker first step than any back on the roster. Behind an average offensive line, he may have more ability to hit a quickly closing hole where the other backs do not.

I have not been this excited about a rookie running back since the drafting of Jonathan Stewart. Is Barner a definite contributor? Not yet, but if he keeps rising he soon will be.

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35 Comments

:: before

How are his hands, is he a threat coming out of the backfield in the passing game?

How are his hands, is he a threat coming out of the backfield in the passing game?

 

He has had a couple of drops, but they all have. He seems to be as capable out of the backfield as Deangelo.

He has very good hands going back to his time at Oregon.  Very dangerous receiver out of the backfield, and was even split out wide at times while at Oregon.  He's a weapon that you can use a ton of ways, I honestly loved the pick when it was announced....

Great stuff Zod

 

If you had to compare him to a RB (yes I know it is early) who would you say his style mimics the most?

Barner was an excellent pick and the perfect insurance for Deangelo.

Great stuff Zod

 

If you had to compare him to a RB (yes I know it is early) who would you say his style mimics the most?

 

I think he has a little Brian Westbrook in him just from watching him. Good out of the backfield, really quick first step, pretty decisive to the hole.

i think he's got the potential tobe the third most dangerous guy on offense behind cam and smitty.

 

i just hope shula can use him the right way and move him around everywhere and get him involved. 

 

has cam connected with him much?

i just hope shula can use him the right way and move him around everywhere and get him involved. 

 

 

Shula does have experience with using smaller backs in an every down manner. Warrick Dunn comes to mind.

awesome. i loved the pick

Barnburner. I worry about his size and strength, but if gets some space it is over.

He is going to be explosive. Can't wait to see this guy on the field. Plus I love his attitude.

I love being decisive to the hole. 

Not really sure he warrants the name barnburner based on his 40 time at the combine. But I m hoping he can contribute in some form or fashion this season. Should get a good healthy look at him throughout the preseason.

Not really sure he warrants the name barnburner based on his 40 time at the combine.

 

I will take amazing quickness over an amazing 40 time for a running back any day of the week. Armond Smith is faster than Kenjon, but not quicker. Smith is not rising in the ranks.

Kenjon also ran mid 4.3s at his pro-day. He's not that slow...
Athleticism and intelligence - we need more of this.

Nice write-up, Zod. If I didn't know any better I'd think that you must have used a ghost writer (LOL).  Seriously, it's nice to see Barner stepping up. He has his entire life, and I'd be highly disappointed if he doesn't do the same in the NFL.

why would we get rid of Stew or delo when Gettleman just restructured both their contracts?  Would it save us money?  Are contracts not legally binding?  Just wondering.

I hope Zod's predictions have gotten better than when he said Fua and McClain were going to break out.

/sarc

 

I do think Barner can produce. Agree, he does run lower now in the TC vids than in the Oregon youtube vids. Not sure if the Dunn comparison is valid. Will admit that I didn't watch that much Dunn when he was at Tampa.

Meh, you guys can call him Barnburner but I'm calling him F-Zero.

On the first day of training camp, Barner saw time mainly with the 3rd and 4th string units. More recently he has been running with the second string unit led by Derrick Anderson. It appears Barner's stock is rising.

 

Derek.

 

No offense.

I love being decisive to the hole. 

 

It's got to be the right hole.

With Stew out, we have a short yardage back, a change-of-pace, third down back, and an everydown back.  Never had those options before. 

I look at it this way.

 

Kenjon Barner allows Stewart to get healthy and not rush a comeback.

 

There have been times when Stewart has rushed back from injuries, but now with Barner he can take his sweet time coming back. If he thinks he can play week two then that's fine or if he has to wait until week 15 then that's fine as well.

Double.