Baylor cornerback Kalon “Boogie” Barnes, the fastest 2022 NFL Draft prospect on either side of the football, has visits lined up with the Seattle Seahawks, Las Vegas Raiders, and Minnesota Vikings, according to league sources. He will also have Zoom meetings with the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers. He has met with the New Orleans Saints, as has Baylor teammate Tyquan Thornton. Barnes met with the Tennessee Titans prior to his campus pro day workout.
Kalon Barnes is the fastest player in the 2022 NFL Draft
Barnes became the fastest defensive back in the history of the NFL Scouting Combine since 2003. He clocked a 4.23 in the 40-yard dash for the best time this year, marking the second-fastest time in NFL Combine history — one one-hundredth of a second shy of tying NFL wide receiver John Ross’ 4.22 time five years ago.
“When it actually happened, I knew it would be a fast time,” Barnes said in a recent telephone interview. “Seeing the 4.2, that’s what I’ve been striving for, trying to get that time. When I was 4.23 and that it was setting a record, it was fun to see. It was exciting. I knew I was going to run a fast time, but actually doing it after putting the work into it the last few months felt good. Most people say I’m a track guy, but I’m trying to show I’m a football guy.”
Stellar speed from the cornerbacks defined the NFL Scouting Combine, including Texas San-Antonio corner Tariq Woolen running a 4.26 to trail Ross, Barnes, and retired Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson’s 4.24 in 2008. His former teammate, Tyquan Thornton, ran a 4.28.
Barnes has plenty of athletic traits and skills. He has improved steadily as a football player, starting 10 games last season for Baylor, recording 23 tackles, 1 interception, 5 pass breakups, and a fumble recovery.
Barnes is a former track star with blistering speed
A two-time Texas state 100-meter and 200-meter champion, Barnes owns the Texas high school 100-meter record with a 10.22 time to earn a gold medal at the state meet. He also earned a gold medal in the 200 meters with a 21.28 time.
Barnes won the 2017 Adidas Dream 100 meters in 10.34 seconds before choosing Baylor over Georgia, Kansas State, Missouri, TCU, Texas, and Texas A&M.
At 5-foot-11 1/2, 183 pounds, Barnes has speed to burn. And he showed it on the Baylor track team.
“My training gave me an edge, and that’s what I hoped for when I run,” Barnes said. “I took it as track training to get out to a certain point. I just wanted to run fast and do well in the drills. It’s definitely something I’ve been shooting for since I started playing football. I still have some things I can work on to be a complete cornerback.
“In the NFL, everybody is bigger and faster and knows a little bit more. That’s what my dad always told me about competition. It just gets better and better.”
East-West Shrine selection
Barnes met with multiple teams at the East-West Shrine Bowl all-star game. He had several formal and informal interviews in Indianapolis. Informally, Barnes met with the Texans, Dallas Cowboys, and Carolina Panthers.
“They’re going to get somebody really coachable and willing to get better at everything,” Barnes said. “I’m willing to play any position, special teams, anything they need me to do. I just want to get better.
“Most people don’t know I’m a real quiet dude. I stay to myself. I’m a quiet, laid-back person. Once I get used to being around everybody, I’ll open up. I just try to stay as calm as possible in the process.”
Small town background
The son of Retina and Chris Barnes, Barnes grew up in Silsbee, Texas, in Hardin County: population 6,611.
“It’s a country town,” Barnes said. “We have a McDonald’s. I stayed right down the street from there. We’ve got a Walmart. It’s a small town where everybody knows everybody. My daddy was a big name in sports. He had the state record before I broke it.”
When Barnes isn’t playing football, he enjoys the Call of Duty video game. His favorite meal: pork chops, rice and gravy, and macaroni and cheese. Favorite candy: Skittles.
“After the Combine, I got to eat what I want,” Barnes said. “I just can’t go overboard with it. I didn’t celebrate too much after the Combine, I just got back to work. It’s all about the work. That’s what it takes to be great.”