2019 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Alex Barnes
Position: Running Back
School: Kansas State University
Height: 6 feet
Weight: 226 pounds
Draft Position: Day 3
In all honesty, Barnes assaults defenses with the ball in his hands. With a powerful strike of stiffarm, he throws linebackers and safeties aside. Yet, Barnes’ game does contain a measure of nuance. Like an opinion, if you peel the layers you will see a back that features excellent balance. Barnes will either bounce off or run through tackles to his lower body, using his sound frame and contact-friendly style. When faced up with a defending, watch the rising and lowering of pad level. As a result, Barnes controls that moment, forcing the defender to make a decision. Additionally, he utilizes patience. If a linebacker fills a running lane, look for Barnes’ off hand on the back of his blocker to guide and help him make a decision.
Despite his thundering approach, Barnes can bounce the play outside. Granted, he will never string together multiple moves to evade defenders. With that said, occasionally Barnes will use multiple cuts during one particular running play.
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Now, if you fixate on his timed speed, Barnes may not be the kind of back that wows anyone. At best, his speed is average. Yet, the burst, combined with his power will set him apart from some in his draft class. In the NFL, being a burner is good, wearing down and finishing a defense late is better.
Barnes did not see a great deal of targets during his career in Manhattan. Yet, the Wildcats managed to occasionally find him down the seam, where he sprinted for a big gain. Now, that serves as the exception rather the rule, but it shows the potential exists.
When the Raiders hired Jon Gruden, many figured that he would embrace the power running game. Gruden prefers bullying teams with a thumper in the backfield. Regardless of whether Marshawn Lynch returns, the Raiders need younger backs. Granted, some place an extraordinary amount of faith in second-year back Chris Warren III. With that said, why not see what Barnes can do in Oakland. If the offense under Gruden continues to thrive in the passing game, the Raiders need a hammer to finish the game.