We all know that an aging offensive line is a huge concern for the New York Giants moving forward. While focusing on that area during our still just beginning 2011 NFL Draft discussions we have spent much of our time talking about the money position, left tackle. Let's focus today on the center position, and a player who is a very intriguing prospect at that spot.
Tim Barnes of Missouri is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound prospect who is ranked third among center prospects in this year's draft by both the National Football Post and by Sideline Scouting. Surprisingly Barnes was not among the players invited to the upcoming NFL Scouting Combine. In listing Barnes as a player who deserved an invitation, CBS Sports draft analyst Chard Reuter had this to say about Barnes:
The first-team All-Big 12 pick was excellent in pass protection despite playing with wide splits, and has the toughness in the run game to start as a rookie.
Barnes is a player with the athleticism to possibly move to guard at the NFL level, as well as center. We know, of course, the Giants could have needs in both of those areas.
Scouting reports after the jump.
6-foot-4, 300 pounds
From the National Football Post:
Snaps and steps quickly off the line and has the type of initial burst to comfortably get into defenders off his frame, get his feet around and seal inside. But, isn't real powerful on contact and has a tendency to rock his arms/hands back and forth in order to stay on blocks through the play. However, exhibits good lower body coordination and footwork, moves well through contact and has the lateral agility to seal defenders from the ball in the run game. Looks natural pulling in space and displays the body control to reach the second level and blow up an opposing target. Nevertheless, he does struggle moving defenders off the ball in the run game and isn't built for an in-line scheme at the next level.
Looks natural in pass protection. Isn't overly physical initially at the point of attack when a defender lines up over his face. But exhibits the type of flexibility to sit into his stance, extend his arms and pick up stunting/slanting defenders inside. Looks natural keeping his base down, sliding his feet and can mirror in space. Possesses above average lateral range, can redirect cleanly and anchor with some consistency through the play.
Impression: He's an above-average athlete who can bend and redirect. Looks like a potential draftabale center to me who should have a good shot at making an NFL roster and possibly contributing down the line.
From SB Nation's Mocking The Draft:
Agility: While at Missouri, Barnes was asked to pull, and get to the second level quite often. He has no trouble using his quickness and good feet to do these things.
Movement: As mentioned in the agility section, Barnes has a great tool in his ability to move his feet and get were he is going quickly.
Pass Blocking: When in pass protection, he has a solid base and shows the ability to anchor. He is very good at absorbing contact, but can be over powered into the backfield by stronger competition. Needs to do a better job of sitting into his stance.
Run Blocking: Unlike his pass blocking, Barnes sits into his stance and fires out when run blocking. He makes good contact after the snap and gets in a solid punch on the defender. He needs to work on staying low and using leverage when driving his opponent. He has no problem staying engaged with the defender, even if he is getting driven back.
Strength: I was impressed with Barnes' upper body strength on film. He would usher defenders around with one arm with ease. He needs to work on his anchor strength though, as he occasionally struggled to stop a bull rush. Overall though, I feel Barnes is strong enough to last in the NFL.
Final Word: I'm a big fan of Barnes. He does have a lot to work on to be successful at the next level, but everything is correctable in my opinion. He does need to show at the Combine that the past four years in the spread offense, snapping in shotgun, won't be an issue. He is the prototypical size for an interior lineman in the NFL, with the barrel chest, good strength and technique. I could see Barnes as the second center prospect off the board come draft day.
From Sideline Scouting:
Positives: Athletic... Intelligent... Versatile, might move to Guard at the next level... Very solid pass protector... Good quickness... Sets up quickly... Very solid footwork and agility... Plays with solid knee bend... Does a nice job sliding and mirroring defender... Can redirect reasonably well, solid awareness, okay at picking up stunts... Can explode out of his stance when run blocking but gets a little too upright, ... Plays with leverage and generally drives his feet on contact... Maintains reasonably good pad level... Gets and maintains good position, seals off the action well... Can pull... Can get to the second level and does a nice job blocking on the move... Keeps his head on a swivel... Good flexibility and body control... Good motor... Good fit in ZBS.
Negatives: Not real strong at POA, needs to improve anchoring strength... Not a pile mover.