@Virginia (2021), vs. UTSA (2021), Northwestern (2021), @Penn State (2020)
Versatile TE that can play as a FB or in the slot as a receiving threat. Can make effective blocks including chop blocks on powerful edge defenders. Will make contested catches if he has too. Can run good routes with a good amount of separation at the breaking point of the route. After the catch, he has a good amount of speed and acceleration. Will be physical and will try to run through defenders at the POA.
Will not be that dominate receiving TE on every down and every game. Bigger defenders at the edge can be an issue for him to block, will have to go to the chop block. Is not explosively fast and will not outrun the entire defense.
Daniel Barker is a very underrated TE out of Illinois that can do it all. Barker was used a lot as a blocker in Illinois system. In pistol sets, he was used a lot as a lead blocker. When lined up in his regular TE position, he was able to set the edge at a good level during outside zone runs. This is a TE that can also be lined up at WR and be effective in the passing game as well. Barker runs crisp routes for his size and can gain a decent amount of separation on DBs. After the catch, he leans on beating defenders with more physicality than his straight athleticism. Can make contested catches but not a huge amount of production in his receiving career. More opportunities in the passing game may benefit Barker in his overall improvement at the NFL level.
Not a huge amount of explosiveness when it comes to his natural running ability. Has a good amount of speed for a TE. His speed, quickness, and acceleration for his size, allows him to play in Y receiver roles if asked upon him. Does have a good amount of flexibility and lateral agility that allows him to run crisp routes to gain separation on the DB covering him in the open field. Is a physical TE and has a high play strength level.
Big Play Ability
Spacing & Timing
A good release off the LOS for a 250-pound TE. Was not a huge receiving present within his time with Illinois, was asked to block more. However, he was used a lot out wide and in the slot. Runs some crisp routes and was able to gain a lot of separation on out breaking routes. Was able to make some contested catches with defenders draped on him. Has a large catching radius that will be utilized. At the next level. His best work was done in the flats and in the middle of the field.
Will make a good impact in the running and passing game if he has to. Will create blocks for his teammates. Is not shy of making any block on a defender in his sights. Was shown plenty of times on tape of leg chopping edge defenders if he knew it would make a difference on the play. Is not always going to win his block, especially in open space with a powerful defender that moves well. Does not have the strongest hands but will get them in the right position to make a block. Was used as a lead blocker in pistol sets and was used as FB a decent amount as well.
Blocking in Space
Is aggressive when running after the catch. Will lower his shoulder into defenders to gain that extra yardage needed. Has a pretty good motor and is a complete TE that does not blocking. Surprising catch-point mentality when he gets a chance. Will body catch if he has to.
Aggression & Toughness
Catch Point Mentality
Does know what is going on during a play and has the instincts to know where to go to get open and extend the play. Is a versatile TE that you can line up out wide, in the slot, as a wing TE, or simply as a FB.