Bowling Green Senior
PROS: Has nice hands showing good body control. Adjusts well to the throw and shields defenders away from the ball. Shows good ability after the catch and has nice vision and toughness as a runner. Does a nice job finding soft spots in the zone and breaks off his routes to help a scrambling quarterback. Is an effective punt returner that can make the first guy miss.
CONS: Lacks ideal speed and not going to stretch defenses. Lacks burst and acceleration and will have trouble getting separation. Will have trouble beating press coverage because he doesn't get a great release off the line. Needs to improve his route-running. Gives little effort as a blocker and can be lazy when used as a decoy. Doesn't have the quick first step to really separate immediately after the catch. Tends to dance too much as a punt returner, and muffed a punt in one game I saw.
OVERVIEW: Barnes is a player that really impresses you with his production, natural feel for the position, thick build, and toughness. He caught 155 passes and 19 touchdowns, breaking the single season record for receptions in the FBS this past year.
NFL FORECAST: Barnes is one of those players that you can't ignore because of his production. His lack of speed and burst will have most teams overlook him. But he's one of those sleeper types that if he gets on the right team could be a solid pro. He's a natural receiver that I think if he can be coached up and taught how to run better routes could make a solid slot receiver. If he gets on a team that has a smart, steady quarterback, then he'll have a much better chance at blossoming. The player he compares favorably with is Josh Reed (Bills). Like Reed, I think he can be a productive No. 3 more than anything. But Reed was a fairly productive starter on occasion for the Bills, and is a guy that can be relied upon to catch 30-50 passes a year off the bench. I think Barnes can be a similar player. And he also has a chance to contribute as a punt returner.
ATL FORECAST: Barnes doesn't have greater upside as a slot weapon than Harry Douglas. Frankly, he won't really be a weapon per se, but instead he coudl be a nice steady third option if Douglas never were to recover from his knee injury. His skill set is similar to Douglas, except take away the explosive ability. Unless the Falcons got rid of Douglas, Barnes wouldn't likely excel here in Atlanta. But could be a decent fourth option if he can impact on special teams.
VALUE: Barnes is a nice fifth round choice for a team looking for a reliable slot option. As a late fourth round pick, he wouldn't be a reach.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.