Drafted in the 2005 NFL Draft as the 52nd player taken by the Jaguars, Kahlif Barnes started the last 12 regular season games as a rookie. Coming out in the 2005 NFL Draft, Scouts.com had the 6'5" 325 lb lineman ranked as the 19th best player in the 2005 Draft and had him rated the second best offensive tackle in the draft, behind Alex Barron.
Scouts.com had this to say about the big tackle's positives coming out of college, where he was considered the best football player on his team:
"Big, athletic lineman soaring up the draft boards. Sets with a wide base, works to bend his knees and keeps his feet moving throughout the action. Quick off of the snap and a solid position blocker who seals the running lanes. Patient, makes good use of blocking angles and powerful at the point. Jolts defenders with hand punch and controls them once engaged in a block. Nasty, engulfs opponents or buries them into the ground. Had a sensational week at Senior Bowl practice when he devastated the opposition."
With the Jaguars, Barnes was a part of an offensive line that blocked for the Jaguars' two highest years rushing in team history. He was also a part of a line that lead the NFL in rushing in both 2005 and 2006.
Over his four years as a starter for the Jaguars, he has averaged 4.75 penalties per season. That includes an average of 1.5 false start penalties per year and 2.25 holding penalties per year. Barnes also gave up an average of five sacks per year.
I have just re-watched the games when Barnes started at left tackle for the Jaguars in 2008 against the Steelers, Ravens, and Colts. Barnes looked very good in both his pass blocking and run blocking against some top flight defensive players. Barnes especially did a nice job in pass blocking and in picking up the blitz.
You very seldom see such a young offensive tackle who plays both left tackle as well as right tackle come on the market. Why then did the Jaguars allow Kahlif Barnes to come to market?
Kahlif Barnes has had some off-field problems that have been documented and I think that was the reason the Jaguars decision not to re-sign him.
The guy is just 26 years old and has made a few mistakes. But Barnes stated that he is betting on himself to right the ship by signing his one-year deal with the Raiders. Barnes stated that Al Davis has a proven history of taking care of his own players and that Mr. Davis has promised him that if he handles his business both on and off the field that the Raiders would take care of him.
This is a young and talented offensive tackle who is looking for a fresh start. He has all the talent and tools he needs to be a very good starting tackle in the NFL. I think this was a huge signing for the Oakland Raiders. With the linemen they have coming back and the new signing of Pears, there should be some good competition in camp this year.
If the Raiders can pick up Mack in the early second round or make a decision to trade up a bit to get him we will also have a center who is big enough to take on all the big nose tackles the Raiders will see playing in a division that plays a lot of 3-4 D.
I for one cannot wait to see how this all is going to play out. Coach Cable and Al Davis have done a great job so far in re-working an offensive line; they are getting bigger and we should see more power on the 2009 Oakland Raiders line and much better pass blocking for our young leader JaMarcus Russell.