PROS: Has good strength and a nice mean streak. Plays with good base, and is hard to bull-rush. Does a nice job getting position as a run blocker, and shows good ability to lock onto defender. Is capable blocking on the move, able to get out in space and second level. Flashes good footwork and technique.
CONS: Struggles matching up with speed rushers. Open his stance too early, and is too easily beat by quick, inside move. Needs to play with more pop off the snap and also do a better job using his feet as a drive blocker. Has some troubles adjusting in space and will whiff on some blocks. Not a great athlete and it shows when he's out in space.
OVERVIEW: He has good size and is effective, despite not having great athleticism. Started every game at right tackle that past four years for a total of 49 games. Played opposite guys like Branden Albert and Eugene Monroe, and a school that has produced a steady stream of quality NFL linemen in recent years.
NFL FORECAST: Barker is a player that I think can stick in the NFL. I think he'll make a better guard than tackle because he plays with good base and won't be limited as much by his lack of ideal athleticism outside. But I also think he can have a decent NFL career playing outside, and potentially function as a decent swing tackle off the bench. He's not a player that you would want starting on the left side for long periods of time, but I think that with some improvement, he has enough technique that he can be functional as a left tackle for short periods of time. The player I would compare him to is probably ex-Cav Brad Butler, who was his predecessor at right tackle. Butler had a nice career in Buffalo as a starting right guard, and I think he can too. I'd also compare him to another Bill blocker in Kirk Chambers in terms of what I could see him doing if he stays at tackle. He needs more polish, but I think you're going to get at the very least a valuable and versatile backup if not an above average starter at guard.
ATL FORECAST: Barker can stick in Atlanta because of his versatility and toughness. I think he's probably better than Garrett Reynolds when he came out of UNC, but Reynolds has a head start on him, so I'm not sure he could beat him outright for a job right away. But I think he can give the Falcons a similar player in what they envision for Reynolds, which is a swing tackle that can also be developed potentially as a starting guard down the road. And like Reynolds, if Barker was a Falcon, I'd suspect he'd sit the bench for his first two or so years and then push a guy for a starting job. I don't imagine that the Falcons will expect him to be a starter, but he could wind up winning a job with hard work in three or four years. He'd definitely add depth and boost competition in Atlanta.
VALUE: I'd probably take him as high as the late fifth if I was projecting him as an option to start at guard down the road.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.