Leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears are taking advantage of every visit possible with potential pro prospects. It appears that the Bears met with UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr in the latter part of March. Barr is one of the top linebackers in this year’s draft class. However, I don’t see Chicago using their 14th overall pick on the freakishly athletic linebacker.
In most mock drafts, Barr is projected to go somewhere late in the first round, meaning that there is a good chance that he’ll be available when the Bears are on the clock. As much as Chicago can use some help in their linebacking corps, their need at safety and defensive tackle are more important.
Even if the Bears did want to invest their first-round pick on Barr, I don’t think they would fully benefit from the selection for a couple of reasons.
First, Barr would be too much of a work in progress. Even though Barr tallied 13.5 sacks in 2012 and 10 sacks in 2013, he’s only played on the defensive side of the ball for two years. Making the transition from college to the professional ranks is hard enough, but doing it with limited experience at a skilled position would only make things more difficult for not only the player, but for the team as well.
Second, the Bears do have a need for linebackers, but more so for help inside. Barr is a better fit for a defense that plays out of the 3-4 alignment. Although Chicago will be playing more of a hybrid version of the 4-3, Barr probably wouldn’t be as productive in the Bears’ scheme.
The draft is less than a month away, and there are several predictions of where Chicago will go with their 14th overall pick. Even though Barr is an attractive prospect, don’t expect the Bears to look his way once they are on the clock in the first round.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller.