Vision -Wasn't tasked with a lot of heavy boxes and instead benefited a lot from soft run fits up front. He's patient, not going to barrel into the backs of blockers recklessly. He did well to suck in second level defenders and then look to bounce outside.
Feet/Change of Direction -He tested better than what I would have guessed off film, he's a free mover but I didn't see any high degree angles throughout the lower half to produce a lot of lateral displacement and he doesn't have really quick start/stop ability.
Durability -Big boomer of a back and was really encouraged to take over the lead role down the stretch. Seemed to get better late in the season and his overall running style will lend well to being the one to "close". No notable college injuries.
Balance -He's got good contract balance and will spin, twist and pull himself out of arm tackles to get extra yardage. He's not super springy or dynamic in his cuts to pinball or put multiple moves together, however.
Pass Protection -I like a lot of what he's able to offer in this space. He's big, sturdy, physical and willing to step out and physically bang on defenders rushing the pocket. He has one of the better anchors in the class after initial contact.
Elusiveness -There's some shimmy in his game. He's not super quick in lateral situations but he uses his head and hips just enough to get a tackler going one way so he can fold back across the tackle. His long speed is nothing to note.
Receiving Ability -Used only sparingly in the pass game and while he didn't have much issue with catching the football on targets, he wasn't asked to do a whole lot and he doesn't profile all that much like a third down back to be a threat.
Short Yardage Skill - Was used as a wildcat ball carrier in goal line and short yardage with success, he can get vertical over the pile or drop his pads to churn out a tough yard or two. He's best off tackle where he's got a clear bounce lane at his disposal.
Football Intelligence -Concerns centered around habits that can be easily established in a bad defensive conference are difficult to vet. He's not been tested or shown consistency with reading at the mesh point so there's reason to believe he'll require some patience before hitting his stride.
Effort -Physical grinder. He's a unique study because he does have a little something to him, not just a straight battering ram. He can be when he needs to be, however and isn't afraid of taking on contact one on one in the hole.
BEST TRAIT - Durability
WORST TRAIT - Long Speed
BEST FILM - Iowa State (2018)
WORST FILM - West Virginia (2018)
RED FLAGS - None
Alex Barnes will be a notable rotational piece of an NFL backfield. While Barnes may not be an every down feature runner, he does offer some needed skills and will be given the chance to further develop and hone his craft. I like Barnes better in a gap/power system, where he can get vertical quickly and know where he is supposed to press his gaps as a means of minimizing any issues present with his vision or ability to process action in the backfield. Valued pass protection skills.
Round Grade - Fifth Round