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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

Haven't heard but has he been back working with the KR as well?  I know Williams returned some kicks as a rookie.  With his abilities and him being the 3rd RB at most, figured he would be in the picture for the KR spot back with Ginn

How would you say that Barner compares to A. Smith and T. Poole? 

I have no doubt Barner will be a star in this league but he may not receive much opportunity.  He has a couple of high salaries in front of him and I seriously doubt carolina will place those salaries on the bench in favor of Barner. I expect to see him on KOR and possibly screens, unless there is an injury, I dont see him running out of the backfield much this year.

 

 

I know this isn't how he does on the field, but he did pretty well!  I like him a lot!  I think he will play a lot in the next few years... 

 

Curt 

I have no doubt Barner will be a star in this league but he may not receive much opportunity.  He has a couple of high salaries in front of him and I seriously doubt carolina will place those salaries on the bench in favor of Barner. I expect to see him on KOR and possibly screens, unless there is an injury, I dont see him running out of the backfield much this year.

 

Barner will get his opportunities to be productive, regardless if it's out of the backfield or not. But, in regards to the backfield, I don't think salaries in front of him will be taken into account in the slightest if he proves to be able to move the chains. Rivera isn't the type of guy who is afraid to sit a man down if he believes the back-up is apt to be more effective. Politics be damned on the sidelines. Everyone wants the player on the field that affords the team the best chance to win (not saying that Barner is or isn't that guy).
 

I'm beginning to think the best place to draft a running back is in the 6th round. Alfred Morris last year maybe Kenjon Barner this year. 

It's got to be the right hole.

 That's very true.  It takes one indecisive move to end up with a shitty day. 

How would you say that Barner compares to A. Smith and T. Poole?


I'm going off one day of watching training camp so someone may contradict me, but I will say light years ahead of Smith. Poole runs kinda similar - low, quick, elusive. The difference is that Barner hits holes with authority while Poole dances around in the backfield (think Deshaun Foster)

I'm going off one day of watching training camp so someone may contradict me, but I will say light years ahead of Smith. Poole runs kinda similar - low, quick, elusive. The difference is that Barner hits holes with authority while Poole dances around in the backfield (think Deshaun Foster)

Wow, I look forward to seeing him in preseason, which fortunately isn't that far away...

This pic of Barner and DeAngelo was surprising to me, because I was thinking of Barner as a "little guy": 

 

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Link: http://www.charlotte...ers-080113.html