Grading every pick from an impressive Panthers 2022 NFL Draft class
By Dean Jones
Kalon Barnes – Carolina Panthers CB
It’s almost become a tradition for Matt Rhule to bring his former college players to the Carolina Panthers since he took over as head coach. Although this has come with mixed success, that did not stop him from using their final pick in the draft on Kalon Barnes.
Barnes clocked one of the fastest-ever 40-yard dash times at the NFL Scouting Combine, which obviously came as no surprise to Rhule having recruited and worked with the cornerback during their time together at Baylor.
Adding another defensive back wasn’t considered that much of a need despite losing Stephon Gilmore in free agency. Barnes has his work cut out earning reps on the defensive rotation, but his exceptional speed makes him a potential special team ace providing he makes the 53-man roster.
There is a nice fluidity to Barnes’ movements in coverage. He also likes to play physically and aggressively, which can work against the corner at times.
Barnes has high athletic traits, obviously. However, the player is unpolished and will need a considerable amount of development under Steve Wilks before the Panthers can throw him into the lineup with any great confidence.
Draft Grade: B
With that being said, this is a very low-risk selection so late in the draft. One that could prove wise if Barnes reaches his targets in the short and long term.