Has quick hands and is able to initiate contact and get position. Is able to lock on in a short area and redirect defender. Shows some ability as a drive blocker. Comfortable working on an island in Missouri's wide splits. Shows ability to pull and hit his assignments and also can get to the second level and lock onto linebacker and drive him off the ball. Shows good mean streak and finishes his blocks. Works well out of the shotgun.
Can whiff on his punch at times and will get overextended a bit. Has trouble setting up at times and doesn't have great lateral quickness or footwork. Will struggle to adjust in space at times and can get beat by swim move and quicker interior defenders. Doesn't stay square due to questionable feet. Too much of a waist bender at times. Can get overextended when pulling, causing him to miss assignments. Gets pushed by the power move against the nose tackle, getting pushed back into the pocket.
Barnes isn't flashy, but a solid center that does his best work as a run blocker. He has good size and played in a shotgun-heavy offense with wide splits that make him practically a guard. A three-year starter that logged 40 starts at center. Got a little bit of work as the backup right guard during the spring of his freshman year.
What you like about Barnes is that he has good size, which means that if you move him to a position like guard, he should be able to handle it. That means he adds immediate depth at more than one position for an NFL team. And thus if he doesn't develop down the road into a capable center, he can still stick on most rosters. But I don't think not developing as a center will be a major issue. I don't see him being a top notch center, but he's a guy that gets the job done. He has good size, usually hits his assignments as a run blocker, and has good mean streak. The main negatives with him is not working a direct snap, which I imagine isn't a huge obstacle that after a year of snapping in the pros ceases becoming an issue. The other is that he doesn't have great footwork or technique in the middle, but at center it won't be as big an issue. At guard, it might cause him some troubles when he matches up against top-notch defensive tackles. But his permanent position is not going to be guard, so if he's starting for a team there it's most likely because of an injury and he's just a stopgap. He can improve on his technique and get stronger. I don't know if he's the type of center you want matching up against 3-4 nose tackles on a consistent basis in the AFC, but at least with his size he stands a better chance there than most center prospects. So for an AFC team, I'd be willing to draft him and try to develop him for a year or two to find out. I think he's a player that should be a good starter in the league, may not be great. But at the least should be something like a poor man's Shaun O'Hara, if not potentially as good as someone like O'Hara.
Barnes can add depth here in Atlanta. He's comparable to Hawley, although I'm not sure he's better than Hawley. But he is good enough that with a year on the bench, he could give Hawley a run for his money as the starting center of the future. I'd probably bet on Hawley to win because of the added year of experience and I think Hawley is probably a better athlete. And if he loses, he at least shows comparable ability as Hawley to also add depth at guard.
Barnes is a nice mid-round center that I think would be good coming off the board in the fifth or sixth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Pass Blocking: 3.0
Run Blocking: 3.0
Mean Streak: 3.5
Scouting reports of the centers, guards, and tackles in the 2011 Draft.
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