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Scouting Report
Barner turned in a breakout performance for Oregon in 2012, his first season as the feature back following the departure of LaMichael James and De'Anthony Thomas. Barner had 1,767 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground while catching 20 passes for 256 yards - all career bests. He averaged 6.3 yards per carry and 12.8 per reception. A lightning-fast big-play threat in the mold of James and Thomas - though bigger - Barner had 12 rushes that went for at least 33 yards in his career and four that went for 68 or more. He also had five career catches that gained at least 30 yards. Barner posted 14 100-yard rushing efforts with the Ducks and ran for 321 and five touchdowns in a 62-51 victory over then-No. 18 Southern California on Nov. 3. Despite starting just five games in 2011, he ran for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns. Barner boasts tremendous straight-ahead speed and uses quick cuts, sidesteps and good field vision to become even more elusive. He also boasts outstanding acceleration after making his cuts and shows good strength and ability to fight through open-field tackles. Despite his gaudy numbers - likely inflated somewhat by Oregon's wide-open offensive attack - Barner's role in the NFL may mirror that of James, an effective change-of-pace back for San Francisco in his rookie season. Barner lacks the lower-body strength and size of a workhorse feature back, and too often tries to bounce a run outside rather than going between the tackles. He runs high and ball security was an issue for him in college, and pass protection - a key skill for NFL running backs - is also a concern as he may lack the strength to take on pass rushers. However, some standout performances at the combine, where he excelled in the vertical jump, 3-cone drill and 60-yard shuttle, cemented him as an exceptional and versatile athlete. His appeal is enhanced by his return ability, as he averaged 22.5 yards on kickoffs and 10.1 on punts, and he seems likely to be a high-value mid-round pick.