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Alex Barnes

Scouting Report done by Mark Jarvis. See all his work at What’s on Draft. Support his work on Patreon.  See the full report here.

Comps – Low/Medium/High

Ty Isaac (Low) – Ryan Nall (Medium) – Lorenzo Taliaferro (High)


Barnes declared early on the hopes of cashing in off of a big junior season which saw him run for over 1300 yards, but his production seems to be a product of poor conference defensive play than of his own talent. Barnes will immediately draw the attention of evaluators due to his size, but his game doesn’t match the expectations placed upon him. Although Barnes’ calling card is going to be his power running style, I don’t believe it will translate well to the pro game. Barnes is reliant on eating shots in the open field and falling forward, not working through the mud and dealing with havoc in the first few yards. He’ll break an arm tackle here or there, but doesn’t have the ability to stay upright in a mess. When defenders make solid contact he goes down nearly immediately. Whether it’s getting tripped up or having someone wrap up, he won’t shrug off guys as they get in his way. Barnes may be able to add some more weight to his frame to help that, but it may limit him more than he already is from an athletic standpoint. Barnes’ lack of speed is likely going to prevent him from getting a legitimate shot as a bellcow back. He doesn’t have long speed or burst, and is never a risk for breaking off runs deep into enemy territory. When asked to speed back up following a cut he has trouble getting back in gear, allowing defenders to mob him before he gets free. He simply does not have the tools to make big plays as a pro, and his shortcomings will become more pronounced facing better athletes. One area that does seem somewhat promising for Barnes is his vision though, which is acceptable for the pro game when he is working behind his blockers. Although he has trouble creating opportunities for himself in the open field, Barnes does a good job of trusting his blockers and allowing them to lead him. He won’t get on their heels and press into action prematurely as they’re pulling. His hopes of making plays out of structure are slim to none, but he generally avoids doing that at the line of scrimmage. There isn’t much to work with in regards to potential receiving back, but his size and frame will result in catches outside of the frame. Once he does get the ball he is ineffective with it due to the aforementioned limitations. He could be developed from the pass blocking side of things as he has some natural anchor and more than enough mass to handle linebackers blitzing. The technical side of things will have to be refined though, as he often resorts to catch blocking and allow defenders into his chest.

Ability to Create Yardage

Does not slice through lanes or make quick lower body movements. Somewhat high-cut frame could leave him susceptible to getting tripped up low. Balance and body control is inadequate. Unable to make a recovery once he stumbles and deals with hard contact. Can’t make defenders second guess as they come in to make tackles. Lacks decisiveness when he reaches the second level. Doesn’t have loose hips. No standout qualities that separate him from other backs; doesn’t have a trait that he can hang his hat on. Arm tackles are much more of a problem than they should be. Unlikely to receive feature back work, although grinding defenses may be his best asset. Predictability is an issue. Lack of lateral agility makes jumpcuts unlikely to succeed. Too easily bottled up at the line of scrimmage.


Unable to turn the corner and burst upfield at an NFL speed. Not going to win any races at the second level, and should not be trusted as a home run threat. Significant stop/start when asked to make hard changes of direction. Will get snagged in the backfield due to slower pace of running. Hasn’t shown a second gear to rev up to once he reaches open space. One speed runner at all levels of the field. Seems to lack urgency in his approach; often looks like he’s jogging instead of running. Unlikely to improve his speed by dropping weight. Only hope of reaching an NFL speed is to increase play speed by an exponential rate and make decisions at a breakneck rate. Never breaks into a stride.


Well-defined body at 230 pounds, carries very little unnecessary weight. Old school bruiser type of runner who doesn’t shy away from contact. Lowers the shoulder and drives into open-field tacklers with disdain. Tends to fall forward for an extra yard or two after delivering hits. Ran through Mark McLaurin from Mississippi State on multiple occasions. Pads start out relatively high but he drops them adequately prior to contact. Wins with mass not acceleration. Good forward lean allows him to carry his momentum ahead and finish strong. Rarely breaks through tackles and continues a run. Great at simply taking hits, but struggles when he gets wrapped up. Leg drive is disappointing for a back his size. Absorbs a lot of damage due to his style of running; career longevity and availability may be a concern.


Demonstrates occasional patience sliding across the line of scrimmage; won’t commit prematurely to holes. Mentality is north south to the highest degree; does not waste time trying to work laterally in hopes of finding a big play. Willing to take what the defense gives him rather than seek out secondary options. Does his best to get skinny and work his way through holes. Unable to create for himself outside of structure. Has trouble finding ways to succeed when given one-on-one situations in space; battering ram body type without finesse or wiggle. Slows himself down trying to set up second level guys for a cut, but doesn’t have the juice to make it happen. Takes yards off of bigger plays by halting his momentum. Needs to accept his physical limitations. Rarely finds cutback lanes and attacks against the grain.

Pass Blocking & Receiving

Puts his face into the fan as a pass protector; coming forward to get involved wherever he can. Has plenty of snaps on his resume peeling off from the backfield and becoming available as a checkdown. Willing lead blocker for his quarterback in the Mississippi State game. Has the strength to meet blitzers in the hole and not be walked off his spot. Has the ability to catch outside of his frame; decent wingspan can make up for misplaced throws. Hands aren’t yet synced in with ball. Does not have potential as a receiver beyond being a safety blanket for his quarterback; lacks the quickness to get open in coverage. Uses his shoulder and body to block rather than hands. Catch blocker who is often driven backwards. Ineffective after the catch.

Categories: 2019, RB, Scouting report