We hear it every year. Likely because it often works.
Players who get drafted later than they expected to be drafted find motivation in the snub. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. Other times, the player goes from snub to superstardom, like Patriots quarterback Tom Brady or Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman.
Oregon running back Kenjon Barner plunged all the way to round six, the 182nd player taken. And he’ll use that to get the most out of his skills.
“I’ve got to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Barner said at Carolina’s rookie minicamp, via Tom Sorensen of the Charlotte Observer. “Every day I’m going to remind myself that 181 people passed on me.”
Panthers coach Ron Rivera couldn’t believe that Barner, who rushed for more than 1,700 yards last season and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at his Pro Day, was still available in round six.
“I didn’t quite get it but I know when he was sitting there, and listening to [G.M.] Dave [Gettleman] and the scouts talk about the value at that pick, it made perfect sense to us, it made perfect sense to me, that we took him,” Rivera said.
For most sixth-round picks, earning a roster spot is no lock. For Barner, it could be.
“I think he’s shown that he has some abilities so he’ll be a guy that we’ll have to find a spot for,” Rivera said. “If he continues to grow and improve and flash like he did, he’s got a chance, a real good chance to help us.”
And that could hurt one of more of the high-priced veteran tailbacks on the team.