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NFL Draft Profile: Alex Barnes, Kansas State

Alex Barnes could be a sleeper pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

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NCAA Football: Kansas State at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Although Alex Barnes decided to forgo his final season of eligibility at Kansas State, he will go down as one of the best running backs to don the powercat.

In just three years, and only one as the legitimate full-time starting RB1 (due to coaching decisions and injuries, not lack of talent), Barnes rushed for 2,616 yards (good for 5th all-time at K-State) on 458 carries, and he reached pay dirt 25 times (good for 9th all-time at K-State). In 2018, his only complete season, he rushed for 1,355 yards (good for 4th in K-State history, slotting him between Darren Sproles’ sophomore and senior campaigns), averaging 5.3 ypc, and scored nearly half of his career TD total during his final season in Manhattan. He was also decent receiving, pulling in 25 catches for 223 yards (most of those in 2019).

Barnes earned the Big 12 rushing title in 2019, edging out fellow NFL Draft hopeful, and fellow early entrant, David Montgomery. We bring up Montgomery because he is the 2nd-highest rated running back in the 2019 draft according to Pro Football Focus. Meanwhile, Alex Barnes generally appears outside the top lists, but impressed enough to be invited to the NFL Combine, where the 6’0, 226lb back wowed scouts with a record 34 reps at 225lbs on the bench press, while also marking “elite scores” in the shuttle drill and vertical jump.

In the NFL, Barnes will likely be a goal-line and short yardage third-down back. He can catch, block, and use his strength to power through a crowded line. His draft grades have put him anywhere from a 3rd round pick to undrafted, but the consensus seems to be that Barnes will be a third-day pick, likely in the fourth or fifth round.

Regardless of who picks Barnes, they are getting a workhorse back with decent vision, explosiveness, and skills; and incredible strength. He ran in a system that didn’t always showcase his best skills, and managed to put up big numbers while often not even being the focus of the Wildcat run game.

He’s also another great example of the young men that are common in the Wildcat football program, and like fellow draft hopeful Dalton Risner, Barnes is well-spoken and shows high character on and off the football field.