Breaking down the top tight ends for the 2022 NFL Draft

Breaking down the top tight ends for the 2022 NFL Draft

NFL Draft Profile: Daniel Barker, Tight End, Illinois Fighting Illini

NFL draft profile scouting report for Illinois tight end, Daniel Barker
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#87
Pos: TE
Ht: 6040
Wt: 250
DOB: 9/23/99
Eligible: 2022
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Deerfield Beach High School

Daniel Barker
Illinois Fighting Illini


Pros:

Pun: Daniel Barker is an impressive athlete with a rocked-up frame which he maximizes in the run game. As a blocker, Barker is effective in-line, as an h-back, split in the wing and out in the slot. He’s technically sound, squaring up to his target with a wide base and extending his long arms outwards to initiate contact, then driving his legs to create displacement. Barker is best in downhill, man blocking schemes and is an astounding lead blocker from the wing position or as an h-back. He blocks every snap like it is his last, displaying immense physical toughness and looking to impose his will as he often pancakes defensive backs. Barker has untapped potential in the passing game, where his athleticism shines. He has the foot speed to threaten the seam and is comfortable settling behind linebackers and in front of safeties, to provide his quarterback an option. Furthermore, Barker showed improved route running in 2021 and can be utilized more often in the slot, going forward. He possesses smooth, efficient releases that utilize jab steps and head fakes to sell the defender one direction, then Barker makes a sharp cut at the break in the opposite direction. In addition, Barker can be a quarterback’s best friend due to his wide catch radius and impressive body control as he can contort his frame to make catches above his head, behind him and down the sideline.

Cons:

Pun: Barker struggles at times with zone blocking schemes because he hesitates when there are two defenders in his area that he must choose to block. His processing skills seem to be below average and it results in Barker failing to block either of the defenders in his zone. In addition, one kink that Barker should look to improve upon (and looked better in week one of 2021) is that he is occasionally the last man off the line. This flaw appears in both the run and pass game and leaves him a half step behind the play. Lastly, Barker is lacking the production (not a big part of Illinois’ passing game) that teams will be looking for and is certainly more of a potential play than a proven commodity at the college ranks.

Summary:

Pun: Barker provides a high floor as a run blocker and has the athletic ability and frame/size to generate a high ceiling in the passing game. He hasn’t been showcased much in Illinois’ passing game but if 2021 is any indication (five catches, 74 yards, two touchdowns), he’ll get the chance to show off his skills. Barker can be a dependable rotational tight end early, who blocks his heart out and makes it tough for coaches to keep him on the bench. Over time, he can develop into a bigger focal point of an offense and become an impactful dual-threat starter.

Background:

Daniel Barker attended Deer Field Beach High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he was a 2017 Sun Sentinel honorable mention. After high school, 247Sports ranked Barker as a 3-Star recruit, the 1554th-best recruit nationally, the 66th-ranked tight end in the country and the 251st recruit in the state of Florida. Barker committed to Illinois after having offers from Kentucky, Pittsburg, FIU, FAU, Marshall, Southern Miss, Toledo, UAB and UCF. As a freshman in 2018, he appeared in all 12 games and started three, tallying nine receptions for 84 yards and one touchdown. In 2019, his role expanded as he appeared in 13 games and started eight, finishing with 18 receptions for 273 yards (3rd on team) and four touchdowns (2nd on team). In 2020, Barker played in all eight games and started five of them, adding 19 catches (2nd on team) for 268 yards (2nd on team) in the condensed season. Returning for his senior season, Barker is praised by tight ends coach, Ben Miller for his work ethic, “He’s taken it [that next step]. His work ethic, that’s one of the things we really talked about it this fall, is just being locked in every day. He is the most locked-in guy, and you know he’s got some good personality. He loves football. He challenges me sometimes because his knowledge of the game is really, really good. He can handle a lot of Football 101 type things, coverages, that some people can’t. So he’s been fun to challenge.” Barker is certainly excited for his chance to make it in the NFL and understands that learning from his coaches is a pivotal step along the way, “They’ve been telling us things to do and we just do it. We just got to trust the process and do what we’re told to do and just do our job. …I just want to take things to the next level, being a pro and doing things that I need to do to get to the next level.”


One-Liners

Pun: Physical and competitive blocker who can align in-line, wing split, h-back and in the slot. Possesses the athletic traits, hands and body control to be more impactful in the passing game than he’s shown so far.

Grades

Current Player Value/Potential Player Value

Pun: 7.1 / 8.4


#87
Pos: TE
Ht: 6040
Wt: 250
DOB: 9/23/99
Eligible: 2022
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Deerfield Beach High School

Daniel Barker
Illinois Fighting Illini


Pros:

Pun: Daniel Barker is an impressive athlete with a rocked-up frame which he maximizes in the run game. As a blocker, Barker is effective in-line, as an h-back, split in the wing and out in the slot. He’s technically sound, squaring up to his target with a wide base and extending his long arms outwards to initiate contact, then driving his legs to create displacement. Barker is best in downhill, man blocking schemes and is an astounding lead blocker from the wing position or as an h-back. He blocks every snap like it is his last, displaying immense physical toughness and looking to impose his will as he often pancakes defensive backs. Barker has untapped potential in the passing game, where his athleticism shines. He has the foot speed to threaten the seam and is comfortable settling behind linebackers and in front of safeties, to provide his quarterback an option. Furthermore, Barker showed improved route running in 2021 and can be utilized more often in the slot, going forward. He possesses smooth, efficient releases that utilize jab steps and head fakes to sell the defender one direction, then Barker makes a sharp cut at the break in the opposite direction. In addition, Barker can be a quarterback’s best friend due to his wide catch radius and impressive body control as he can contort his frame to make catches above his head, behind him and down the sideline.

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