Scout Report – Alex Barnes

  • Position: Running Back
  • College: Kansas State Wildcats
  • Pre-Draft Position Rank: 16 of 39

Age: 22, Height: 6’1, Weight: 225 lbs, Experience: 3 years (College)

Barnes (34) runs with the workhorse mentality, consistently chipping 3-5 yards a carry
  • Scouted Games
    • vs. #18 Mississippi State
    • @ #25 Iowa State

RESUME:

  • 7th in total carries on the season (256)
  • 9th most rushing yards on the season (1,355)
  • Tied 31st for most rushing TDs on the season (12)
  • Best Game: @ Baylor (L 34-37)
    • 22 attempts, 250 yards, 3 rushing TDs, 2 catches, 22 receiving yards
  • Played 5 ranked opponents (0-5)
    • vs. #18 Mississippi State (L 10-31)
      • 17 att, 75 yds, 2 rec, 19 receiving yards
    • @ #12 West Virginia (L 6-35)
      • 12 att, 49 yds, 2 rec, 7 receiving yards
    • vs. #18 Texas (L 14-19)
      • 19 att, 80 yds, 1 TD
    • @ #8 Oklahoma (L 14-51)
      • 13 att, 28 yds
    • @ #25 Iowa State (L 38-42)
      • 28 att, 184 yds, 1 Rushing TD, 2 rec, 8 rec yds
  • 2018 Maxwell Award watch list
  • 2017-18 Doak Walker Award watch list
  • 2016 Second Team Big 12 All-Freshman Team (Athlon)
  • 2016 Second Team Academic All-Big 12

Strengths:

  • Follows through on fakes
  • Good vision to find the hole
  • Can squeeze through tight spaces in the line to keep moving the ball forward
  • Keeps his runs between the tackles and rarely bounces to the outside
  • Quick feet allow for change of direction and maneuverability in tight spaces
  • Powerful legs keep him moving forward even after initiating contact
  • Shows a second burst that makes him difficult to catch once he is in the open field
  • Shows refinement in his maneuverability
  • Good enough hands to be a useful check down option
  • Has good size for today’s NFL

Weaknesses:

  • Gets caught in congestion too often stalling his running or his route
  • Slow on his routes out of the backfield can cause timing issues as the check down
  • Gets overpowered too often on the block
  • Runs with his shoulder, offering little evasion
  • Not incredibly strong, does not break a lot of tackles

Bold Predictions:

  • Draft Placement: 4th Round
  • Plays Like: Nick Chubb
  • Ceiling: NFL starter/ Lamar Miller
  • Floor: 4 and out

Overview:

Alex Barnes is a perfect example of a workhorse runner who can consistently give you good inside runs to wear down defenses. His playstyle has little flash, and rather than bobbing and weaving through defenders, Barnes is more inclined to simply drop the shoulder and push forward. This is both his biggest strength and his most revealing weakness when we are discussing his ability to play at the next level. On one hand, Barnes already possesses the necessary aggressiveness for the inside run that can benefit teams, as his strong legwork and high motor can keep him pushing forward. On the other hand, Barnes did little breaking tackles at the college level against tough opponents to begin with, and that rarity in him being able to power through a tackle will become even more rare at the NFL level. So then the question becomes how does Barnes’s game evolve? He could become more agile, working on his evasiveness to elude defenders, or he could get stronger and continue to power through the inside.This question is a major aspect of how valuable Barnes can be to a team. Option 1 is more time consuming and has a higher chance of failure, whilst option 2 does little to evolve his game, and will not see as large a jump in ability. But that is enough of hypotheticals and ponderings, let me give you something tangible. When looking at Barnes’s numbers throughout the 2018 season, the main point that sticks out is consistency. In all but three games (Baylor, Oklahoma, and Iowa state), Barnes averaged between three to five yards a carry. Of the three games where he was not in this threshold, two of them were for higher values (Baylor saw Barnes average 11 yards a carry, while Iowa State saw Barnes average 6.6). Remember this is also against 5 ranked opponents on the season, with Oklahoma being the only team to be able to hold him below 3 yards a carry. On a 5-7 Kansas State team, Barnes was able to put up these consistent numbers, which makes you wonder what he can do when he is given a superb line and a little daylight. Barnes, I believe, has the potential to have a sustainable NFL career looking something like Lamar Miller’s. At the same time however, the question does get raised about where his game can evolve beyond where it is now. If this is the fullest extent Barnes can take his ability, he simply is not capable of being a legitimate threat where he needs to be, or where his game demands him. Should this happen, Barnes will no doubt be a player who is quickly forgotten in favor of the newer faces of the NCAA, and will fall out of the league in favor of the fresh legs of a future draft class.

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