One of the most intriguing wide receivers available in the draft, Barden has the size and skill to be an impact player at the next level.
AP /Denis Poroy
The draft process is an intriguing time, because it seems like there’s always a small school prospect that comes from obscurity and into the limelight. Take Joe Flacco and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for example; two players who performed well in the Football Championship Subdivision (Division I-AA) and were granted the opportunity to showcase their skills at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine.
This year’s small school prospect, Cal Poly WR Ramses Barden, followed the exact path that Flacco and Rodgers-Cromartie took and is ready to emerge as a potential Day One selection. The 6-foot-6, 229-pound playmaker is a defensive coordinator’s nightmare, and has been a consistent force for the Mustangs the last two season’s. During that time, Barden caught 124 passes for 2,724 yards and 36 touchdowns.
On Friday afternoon at the Scouting Combine, Barden stepped to the podium and addressed the media. But before a large contingent of reporters surrounded Barden and started peppering him questions, Scout.com’s NFL Draft Analyst Chris Steuber got a few minutes alone with the former Cal Poly star.
Chris Steuber: You’re quite the enigma; kind of a dark horse at the wide receiver position in this year’s draft. But everyone wants to know how fast you will run your 40?
Ramses Barden: I think I will run somewhere in the 4.5 range.
CS: Your speed is a topic among the media, but does it come up a lot with the teams?
Barden: Not as much as you would think. NFL personnel don’t expect me to run that fast; I’m not upset by that, because I think they see that I have other talents and abilities. After Sunday, they will say that he can do some other things too. They will think that they have some more options to work with and they got more value than they expected.
Barden has followed the same path that Flacco and Rodgers-Cromartie took last year.
CS: This year’s crop of receivers is full of athletic guys who run good routes, stretch the field and catch the ball cleanly. But you’re unique with your size, physicality and strong hands. Do you think your physical prowess makes you unique?
Barden: I hope that I’m unique. I hope that I’m unique enough for somebody to take a chance on me with one of the first 32 picks.
CS: Have you met with any teams since you’ve been here?
Barden: I met with a number of position coaches and team staff on Thursday. I can’t remember how many I met with. But it’s more than I can count with my hand.
CS: In those meetings, was there a team that stood out to you?
Barden: I can’t say; I mean a bunch of coaches were trying to get a feel for my football knowledge. They want to see if I can go from that triple option offense and comprehend something a little more complex. I think I showed I could at the Senior Bowl and I think they know I can take on a bigger offense.
CS: What did you learn from your experience in Mobile and how did the week of preparation prepare you for this weekend in Indianapolis?Barden: It was a tremendous learning experience. It was definitely a big buffer to learn how to adjust in a new atmosphere. The lights, the camera’s, the competition; everything went so fast on and off the field. It was a wake up call to see all of the top players step up their game, which made me step up mine as well. I can’t wait to show people what I’ve learned this past season and at the Senior Bowl [this weekend].
A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.