By Steve Reed
AP Sports activities Author
CHARLOTTE — Kalon “Boogie” Barnes is a flat-out burner.
The largest query going through the Carolina Panthers rookie cornerback is whether or not his elite pace interprets to a profitable NFL profession.
Barnes ran a 4.23 40-yard sprint on the NFL scouting mix in February — the quickest time ever recorded by a defensive again because the NFL Community started broadcasting the occasion in 2003. It’s additionally the second-fastest time total, one one-hundredth of a second behind huge receiver John Ross, who set the mix report (4.22) in 2017.
In fact, pace doesn’t all the time equate to a protracted profession on the NFL stage.
Barnes, being a seventh-round decide, nonetheless has some approach points to work out as a cornerback and can seemingly need to carve out a distinct segment as a particular groups participant earlier than turning into a full-time defender.
However don’t confuse him with being one other uncooked monitor athlete making an attempt to make it as a soccer participant. He’s been enjoying soccer since he was 5 and was a four-star recruit as a large receiver popping out of highschool.
“Football is his first love,” stated Panthers coach Matt Rhule. “… He is a football kid that happens to be really fast.”
Actually quick, certainly.
Barnes, a two-time Texas state champion in highschool within the 100 and 200 meters, as soon as turned down a six-figure deal to run skilled monitor so he might play for Rhule’s Baylor Bears on a soccer scholarship.
His purpose has all the time been to play soccer, not be a sprinter.
“My daddy went by the identical course of and he was like, ‘Why would you take that (track) deal when you can get paid on a yearly basis playing football? Track you just get that one deal,’ “ Barnes stated.
The Panthers chosen Barnes 242nd total, one among a number of late-round picks that normal supervisor Scott Fitterer known as “freakishly athletic.”
It’s no provided that Barnes will make the Panthers’ 53-man roster, as they’re crowded depth chart at cornerback contains former first-round draft picks Jaycee Horn and C.J. Henderson and second-round decide Donte Jackson. The staff can be excessive on Keith Taylor, who stood out as a rookie final season.
However Barnes does have one benefit on his aspect that different late-round draft picks may not — he performed one season for Rhule, who acknowledges his potential.
Barnes went to Baylor as a large receiver however moved to cornerback after the Bears suffered accidents within the secondary. He wound up beginning 10 video games at cornerback final season, recording 23 tackles, 5 move breakups, an interception, and a fumble restoration.
Rhule stated Barnes has a “football mentality.” He remembers him getting beat on a double transfer towards a Huge 12 opponent, then regathering himself and utilizing his “unique catch-up speed” to race down the huge receiver and break up a deep ball. He additionally remembers his toughness, as soon as enjoying by a damaged finger and him operating a ten.4 within the 100 meters in a monitor meet simply hours after going by a full-contact soccer follow.
Nicknamed “Boogie” by his dad and mom as a result of he preferred to bop as a younger boy, Barnes nonetheless has to “clean up some technical things” on protection, in response to Rhule.
“We are really deep in the secondary,” Rhule stated. “There will be a lot of great battles there. He is going to have to use his speed and physicality on special teams.”
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