In all the rumors and the speculation regarding how good or bad the Chicago Bears will be next season, who will start where, and even who will be here in Week One — Freddie Barnes stands out in a group of young, underrated, under-appreciated prospects seeking to make a positive impact in the National Football League this coming year.
Well, quite frankly, he won’t make much of an impact next year, either.
Yet, Barnes has the potential to become a positive influence both in the locker room and on the field.
Freddie Barnes, the former Bowling Green wide out, is one of the players who I believe deserves more gratitude than he’s received.
I had a conversation with Barnes via Twitter. He came off as a very kind man, stating that he wants to have an impact on everyone, particularly young people.
The 23-year-old seemed like a very humble person with character and integrity.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, that’s great and all. But why am I reading this if he can’t even play? I’ve never even heard of this kid.”
Well, here’s some positive reinforcement for Freddie:
Senior Year: 155 receptions for 1,770 yards, 19 touchdown catches
2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl: 17 receptions for 219 yards, an average of 12.9 yards per catch, and three touchdown snags in a 43-42 losing effort versus Idaho
9/3: 15 receptions for 157 yards, a pair of touchdowns against Troy
9/19: 17 receptions for 109 yards versus Marshall
10/10: 22 receptions for 278 yards, an average of 12.6 yards per catch, including three touchdowns, against Kent State
Over the course of Barnes’s outstanding college career, he tallied 298 catches for 3,299 yards and 30 touchdowns, thus surpassing Randy Moss.
The only problem I have with such productive career stats is that Barnes was a workhorse for Bowling Green, a smaller school. At the professional level, injury becomes more and more likely.
However, this shouldn’t phase Barnes. He likely won’t see the field for a few years.
Barnes’ physical stature gels well with the rest of the Bears’ wide outs. He stands at 6’0″ tall, which puts him right in line with Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett.
He’s taller than Devin Hester, the current starter, but doesn’t possess the same traits.
Barnes will never be a speedster. I can only see him being a deep-threat if his teammates soften up the coverage, and take away safety help, therefore breaking a lane open for the 215-pounder.
That said, he could become the next Muhsin Muhammad.
Yeah, “Moose” was never too productive with Chicago, but he had a successful run while in Carolina (that’s saying something) and was a solid leader and a polished receiver.
The Chicago-born Barnes faces a great, yet challenging opportunity in his hometown. He may be on special-teams or the practice squad.
No matter what, Barnes looks like a natural possession receiver, with soft hands and crisp routes. I hope the Bears don’t let him slip away.
A wide-out of his caliber should be groomed carefully and slowly in order to petrify opposing secondaries.
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