NFL Draft: Panthers select Kenjon Barner in 6th round (182nd pick)
With the No. 182nd overall pick in the sixth round, the Carolina Panthers selected running back Kenjon Barner out of Oregon.
The speedy back put up eye-popping numbers in 2012 when he led senior running backs nationwide in total touchdowns with 23 and ranked fourth in FBS in rushing yards per game (135.92). During his spectacular senior season, Barner nearly equaled his previous career output at Oregon by rushing for 1,767 yards, on 6.4 yards per attempt. Barner (5-9, 198) finished ninth in Heisman Trophy balloting, the highest among running backs.
Despite his lack of size, Barner proved to be a workhorse at times. Barner received at least 30 carries three times in 2012, including 38 against USC when he rushed for 321 yards and five touchdowns. Here is Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com's scouting report on Barner:
Barner, Rang writes, is a "shifty runner with the stop-start-go ability to shake defenders in tight quarters and break free for long gains. He possesses excellent straight-line speed and is a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands."
The former Ducks' running back, Rang adds, is "quick to the hole and shows very good vision to set up his blocks at the first level and downfield." He is also a "natural runner who can lull defenders to sleep by changing his gait and then exploding past them to ruin pursuit angles."
The selection of Barner could signal the end of DeAngelo Williams' career in Carolina. Williams is entering the third year of a five-year, $43.0 million contract. Williams, 29, carries a cap hit of $8.2 million in 2013. If Williams is cut before June 1, he will cost the Panthers $9.6 million in dead money against the 2013 salary cap.
Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter @mattrybaltowski.
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