MOBILE, Ala. — Of the six running backs who'll play in Saturday's Senior Bowl, the one with the most Jahvid Best-like skill set — a dimension the Lions want to add to their backfield this off-season — is Oregon's Kenjon Barner.
"Barner's got that type of explosiveness," NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said. "He can get up and go."
The NCAA's fourth-leading rusher with 1,767 yards last year, Barner is a multidimensional back like Best was coming out of Cal in 2010. He's a threat catching passes on the perimeter and has a history as a dynamic return man.
But like Best, Barner also has a significant brain injury in his past.
Midway through the 2010 season, Barner was knocked unconscious in a violent collision on a kickoff return against Washington State. He spent the night in the hospital, missed the next two games (plus a bye week) and has been mostly injury free since.
The Lions are searching for running back help for the third time in four years precisely because of injuries.
They traded up to take Best with the 30th pick of the first round in 2010 after signing off on his medicals — he suffered a significant brain injury when he landed on his head in his final college game — and moved up again to take Mikel Leshoure in the second round of the 2011 draft.