When you review the tape and the highlight reels of Kenjon Barner, the first question that comes to mind is how in the world did this guy end up being a sixth-round pick? It's not like Barner played at a small school. Oregon is one of the premier football colleges in the country.
Barner is an exceptionally gifted athlete who is fast and has impressive lateral movement. The latter probably explains why he was so high on Gettleman's radar. Barner can do it all; he can run out of the backfield, catch passes and even play special teams.
For a player of his skill set, grabbing him late in the draft could pay dividends for the Panthers and leave other teams kicking themselves for passing on him—assuming he can translate his college game over to the pros.
Barner won't start on the offense this year as DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have the position locked down. However, that doesn't mean he can't learn from them and see action in a cleanup role.
If Barner does see significant playing time, it will be on special teams, and if all goes well, he could give the unit a much-needed boost.
Assuming Joe Adams is able to bounce back from a relatively disappointing rookie year, Carolina could have the future of the return game at its disposal, prompting opposing teams to keep the ball away from them.
However, before declaring Barner and Adams as the second coming of Devin Hester and Josh Cribbs, a lot needs to happen first. While Adams needs to learn from last year's mistakes and correct accordingly, Barner will have to adjust to the speed of the pro game and make sure he is able to hold onto the ball.
Barner is the wild-card draft pick here, as he will be expected to compete for playing time at running back next season, but he has a lot to prove in 2013.
His every move will be closely watched on the field, and if he can make the most out of the majority of those moves, his future in Carolina could be long and productive.