As of this particular moment while writing this sentence, the 2013 NFL Draft is just 24 days, 5 hours, 55 minutes, and 15 seconds away. And though some teams may only place importance in the first and second round picks they are able to get from the draft, for a team like the Seattle Seahawks — who have seen tremendous success in recent drafts — the draft is one of the most important days of the upcoming season.
With recent mid- to late-round picks such as Richard Sherman, Russell Wilson, Bobby Wagner, and K.J. Wright seeing plenty of success in their first year or two of NFL play, the Seahawks‘ staff has been the most impressive at selecting players in the later rounds who can make an immediate impact.
Don’t look for that trend to change this year, either, despite Seattle having an almost set roster for their 2013-2014 NFL season. The Seahawks will continue to look for the best players to fill their needs but will do so knowing that they may have to cut quite a few players who don’t possess the same level of talent as other players at their position.
That being said, rookies will find their way onto this roster through competition and demonstrating that they are better than some of the other players already part of Seattle.
One player — if drafted by the Seahawks — who could make quite the impact on the team would be Kenjon Barner. A product of the University of Oregon and standout running back, Barner impressed in his only season as a starter at Oregon after playing in the shadow of best friend LaMichael James for three years.
Now that he has demonstrated his versatility and skills over the course of an entire season, many are projecting him to be a third or fourth round pick who could potentially make an impact on special teams and serve as a decent backup running back.
Here is how a player like Barner could help the Seahawks in the years to come.
Barner excels in open space and has breakaway speed that helps him get to the edge and explode out of the backfield. Aside from having the speed to separate from NFL defenders, Barner is also a great receiver coming out of the backfield and could play multiple roles on offense.
Like James, Barner is a smaller back who could hide behind the line of scrimmage before bursting into the open field.
Another strength of Barner could come in the form of him contributing on special teams. Using his speed and ability to read the open field, the Oregon alum would likely be a valuable addition to a special teams unit in the NFL
While Barner excels in getting to the outside and bursting down the sidelines, he has yet to really demonstrate his ability to run through the tackles. Coinciding with this is the fact that he is somewhat of an impatient runner, always wanting to take the ball to the edge instead of waiting for the play to develop at the line.
Physically, Barner is so-so. While he possesses great speed and has shown toughness, his smaller stature and weight may be a big question mark surrounding how healthy he could remain at the next level.
If he starts to show signs of wear, he may be limited throughout his NFL career.
How he would fit with Seattle
Barner would be a great mid- to late-round pick for the Seahawks because of his potential to be an impact player on special teams. Especially with the loss of Leon Washington, the Seahawks will be looking for another player to potentially compliment Percy Harvin in the return game.
Aside from his contributions on special teams, Barner also possesses vast knowledge about the spread and read option, a formation and play Seattle is beginning to implement more and more with Russell Wilson at the helm.
His knowledge of this quicker system and play could help the Seahawks be even more deceptive while opening the field for other impact players.
Coming from a writer who has watched Barner develop over his Oregon career, I believe he would be an excellent fit for Seattle.
Not only does he bring a knowledge of the system and plays, the Oregon standout also possesses the skills necessary to be quite the surprise player st the next level — a type of player the Seahawks have been extremely successful at selecting.