Height: 6-6 Weight: 224 Age: 31
Born: 1/1/1986 Altadena , CA
College: Cal Poly-S.L.O.
Selected By: New York Giants
Pick (Overall): 21 (85)
The most physically imposing receiver in the 2009 NFL Draft, Barden proved in postseason All-Star games and at the Combine that while he might not have played at the major college level, he is a major talent. His size, strength and long stride have scouts comparing him to former Denver Broncos standout Shannon Sharpe, present Bronco Brandon Marshall and San Diego's Vincent Jackson, all who proved that while they might tower over cornerbacks, they can also play in the short-area passing attack.
Barden broke numerous school and Great West Conference records. He joined David Ball of New Hampshire (58, 2003-06) and Jerry Rice of Mississippi Valley State (50, 1981-84) as the only players in NCAA Division I-AA/Football Championship Subdivision to catch 50 touchdown passes in a career. He had at least one touchdown in 32 games, breaking Rice's old NCAA record of 26 games with a scoring grab.
Barden put together a string of 20 consecutive games with a touchdown reception, again erasing one of Rice's records (Rice had a string of 17 games from 1983-84). He became just the eighth player in FCS annals to gain over 4,000 yards receiving in a career and his average of 20.4 yards per reception is the best by a receiver at this level since Dedric Ward of Northern Iowa produced a career average of 22.02 yards (1993-96).
At Flintridge Preparatory High School, Barden was a four-sport standout. On the gridiron, the receiver and free safety earned All-Prep League, All-CIF-Southern Section and all-area (Pasadena-Glendale) honors in addition to all-state accolades in the small schools division. He led the Rebels (12-1) to the CIF-Southern Section Division XIII title as a senior, when he caught 41 passes for 915 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Barden also played basketball, volleyball and track. On the hardwood, he averaged 17.2 points and eight rebounds a game. He was named all-league three times and All-CIF twice in basketball and named Cal-Hi Sports small schools Athlete of the Year. An Honor Roll member as a junior and senior, he participated in Peer Counseling, the Minority Student Union as a club director and was an Alliance Camp counselor.
Barden visited Penn and San Diego State before enrolling at Cal Poly. He redshirted in 2004, taking over "X" receiver duties the following season. He earned All-Great West Conference first-team honors, leading the team with 40 receptions for 655 yards (16.4 avg.) and nine touchdowns. He also excelled on special teams, making one solo tackle while using his 6:06 frame to block a pair of field goals.
Professional scouts started to notice what opposing defensive coordinators already knew -- Barden was a man among boys at this level of competition. He received All-America and All-Great West recognition as a sophomore, as he pulled down 42 passes, including 39 for first downs in 2006. That year, he generated 824 yards receiving (19.6 avg.), finding the end zone five times.
As a junior, Barden was a consensus All-America choice. He ranked second in the nation with 1,467 yards receiving, catching 57 passes that included 18 touchdowns. His average of 25.74 yards per catch was the highest mark by an FCS player since Mikhael Ricks of Stephen F. Austin averaged 28.89 yards per reception in 1997. He led the league and placed 11th in the nation in scoring, averaging 9.82 points per game while lining up at the "Z" receiver position.
Barden continued to generate considerable national attention as a senior. He was again named to virtually every All-America team, leading the league and ranking second nationally with an average of 114.27 yards per game receiving. He hauled in 67 passes, averaging 18.8 yards per clip, again coming up with 18 touchdowns, placing eighth in the country with an average of 9.82 points scored per game.