Round 7, 242nd Overall: Kalon Barnes, CB, Baylor
There’s almost no such thing as a bad seventh round pick, as those players so rarely become regular contributors anyways. The later in the draft it gets, the more value there is in selecting a high upside player with elite physical traits.
Such is the case with Baylor’s Kalon Barnes. The Carolina Panthers added some more speed when he selected Barnes, who ran the fastest 40-yard dash at the combine this year: 4.23 seconds.
There’s also the Matt Rhule connection. Rhule was the head coach at Baylor from 2017 to 2019, and Kalon Barnes suited up for the Bears from 2018 to 2021. Barnes began his Baylor career as a wide receiver, but switched to cornerback his sophomore year in 2019. He’s got good length to go along with his incendiary speed, and both traits can help him recover if a receiver gets a step on him.
Barnes isn’t the most fluid athlete, and he’s a bit lean (6’0” 183), but he can run and tackle, and that might be enough to contribute on special teams right away. It’s very possible that Matt Rhule himself signed off on this pick, so that should be an indicator of what he thinks about Kalon Barnes. Regardless, grabbing the defensive back with the fastest 40 time in the history of the combine in the seventh round is a worthy gamble.