Anthony Barr made the transition to linebacker for his final two years at UCLA, and with 23.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and 41.5 tackles for loss in that time he has become one of the top linebacker prospects in this year’s class. He is widely being projected as a first-round pick in May’s draft, even as high as seventh overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.com.
Here’s my look at Barr with the 2014 NFL Draft a little over a month away.
Weight: 255 lbs.
(At the NFL Combine)
– Has above-average athleticism; changes direction smoothly
– Shows good burst off the ball with a top-notch first step
– Shows high motor; pursues plays and closes well
– Shows good leverage as a pass rusher; can walk offensive tackles back into the quarterback
– Looks hesitant in pass coverage; struggles with awareness
– Needs to play with better leverage and physicality as a run defender; struggles to disengage from blocks
– Over-pursues at times; gets out of position too often vs. the run
– Has only two years of experience on the defensive side of the ball; is a fairly raw prospect
– Needs to develop a wider array of pass rush moves; does not use his hands as well as he could
Multiple teams have lined up visits with Barr, and even though he needs time to develop his all-around game the premium placed on pass rushers makes it likely he’ll be drafted in the top half of the first round. Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack look certain to be the first two defensive players off the board, but after that the Atlanta Falcons (sixth overall), Detroit Lions (10th overall), Tennessee Titans (11th overall) and Dallas Cowboys (16th overall) all look like good fits for Barr.