CHARLOTTE – The Carolina Panthers selected cornerback Kalon Barnes from Baylor in the seventh round (242nd overall) of the NFL Draft on Saturday.
Barnes started ten games for a Bears team that won 12 games and the Big 12 Conference title game. The Silsbee, Texas native grabbed an interception in each of the last three seasons.
Carolina head coach Matt Rhule coached Barnes at Baylor for two seasons, but at the end of the day, Rhule said the speed stood out more than anything.
“We brought Boogie here not because I coached him,” Rhule said, calling Barnes by his nickname, “but because he could fly.”
Barnes made 23 total tackles, five pass breakups, and a fumble recovery in 2021. He had an interception against Oklahoma, helping Baylor set a course for the Big 12 conference championship.
He also flashed neck-breaking speed: he ran an NFL Combine-best 4.23 40-yard dash, which was the fastest time for a defensive player and the second-fastest time ever in the drill.
Barnes made the transition from wide receiver to cornerback as a true freshman in 2018. He was a member of the track team early in his time at Baylor, winning the 100-meter dash in his debut meet at the USC Trojan Invitational in 2019.
Barnes became the last of the Panthers’ six-man draft class. He was the third defensive player taken by the Panthers on the draft’s final day, adding Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith in the fourth round and Virginia Tech edge rusher Amaré Barno in the sixth.