LIONS INSIDER

Oregon RB Kenjon Barner is trying to prove he's a complete running back

Posted Jan 23, 2013

Kenjon Barner - the former Oregon running back - has one thing to prove to NFL teams at the Senior Bowl – can he block and pick up the blitz?

Kenjon Barner

Kenjon Barner has speed.

He has good instincts running the football and catching it out of the backfield.

The former Oregon running back has one thing to prove to NFL teams at the Senior Bowl – can he block and pick up the blitz?

"It's something you don't get to see in our offense a whole lot because a lot of teams (didn't) blitz us," Barner said of his role as a blocker at Oregon.

"A lot of times in our scheme we don't have to do that. (NFL coaches) wanted to know if I could do it and if I'm willing to do it."

At Oregon, Barner was asked to cut block a blitzing linebacker or safety.

Down here at Senior Bowl practices, the 5-foot-11, 192-pound speedster is being asked to stand toe-to-toe with those blitzers and keep them off his quarterback.

Barner has had mixed results all week, which is to be expected, but he's certainly proven that he's willing to do it.

"They wanted to see me man up, put (my) head gear in there and block somebody," he said. "I thought I did pretty well. Coaches here thought I answered the question so I hope I did."

If he proves he can be an efficient enough blocker for coaches' liking, Barner is an interesting prospect.

He's got good speed and quick feet and has also shown a willingness to run between the tackles. He's got decent (not great) hands out of the backfield and looks like he'll be a nice change-of-pace back in the NFL.

The Detroit Lions just so happen to be on the lookout for one of those via free agency or the draft with the uncertain future of Jahvid Best (concussions).

Barner rushed for 1,767 yards for the Ducks last season with 21 touchdowns. He caught 20 passes for 256 yards and two more scores.

His mission over the next few months is to prove he's a complete back that can be put in any situation.