2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: AJ Barner

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report - Michigan TE AJ Barner

The NFL Draft countdown is on as the first selection will be made in less than three weeks. We take a look at Michigan tight end AJ Barner who brings versatility with the ability to utilize his blocking and receiving skills efficiently.

Barner was a three-star recruit by ESPN and a three-star recruit by 247 Sports coming out of high school. He eventually committed to Indiana and transferred to Michigan in 2023.

During his four-year career, he amassed 64 receptions, 610 yards (9.5 yards per catch), and five touchdowns. At Michigan, quarterbacks had a 112.6 QBR when targeting him. He also surrendered zero sacks in pass protection throughout his career.

Make sure to check out all of our other NFL Draft scouting reports.

AJ Barner, Tight End, Michigan

Name: AJ Barner
Jersey: No. 89
Position: Tight End
School: Michigan
Class: Senior
Height: 6-foot-6
Weight: 251 lbs.


40-Yard Dash: 4.47
10-Yard Split: 1.50

Three Cone: 7.02
Hand Size: 9″
Arm: 33 3/8″

Awards: Mackey Award Semifinalist (2023)

Games Watched: Penn State (2022), Iowa (2023), Michigan State (2023), Nebraska (2023)
Major Injury History: None


AJ Barner’s Strengths

Barner possesses very good length, weight, and solid athleticism. He gets acceleration off the line of scrimmage, displaying good straight-line speed. Good burst off the snap to position out wide and good physicality off the line of scrimmage against press coverage, showing quick, violent hands with a good natural balance. Good feel for sitting down against zone coverage. Solid ball-tracking skills and body control, allowing him to adjust to off-target throws due to elite catch radius. Elite run blocker at all levels of the field. Impressive technique and power to reach and move second-level defenders. Good ability in locating leverage angles with pad level to drive defenders. Excellent in pass protection.


AJ Barner’s Weaknesses

Adequate route running with a limited route tree. Struggles to catch through contest due to inconsistent ability to create separation at breaks. Adequate playing speed which may not allow him to run past defenders at the next level. Lacks experience as a pass catcher in his career.


Barner is an in-line tight end who can succeed in the slot. He is technically sound as a run- and pass-blocker with underrated athleticism.  Barner’s role will need development over time, but he does have a high ceiling at the next level with more targets thrown his way. He’s a solid No. 2 tight end as a primary blocker in the NFL. He’d be a perfect fit in a run-first, run-heavy scheme with the possibility of a spread.

Pro Comparison: Cade Otton
Draft Projection: Fifth Round
Grade: Third Round

Main Image Credit:

Embed from Getty Images


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