Anthony Barr LB UCLA #11
Size/Athleticism: Elite athleticism for the position. Played tight end/running back early in his career before switching to defense prior to 2012 season. Closing speed and range are impressive. Moves through traffic fluidly.
Run Defense: Patient and disciplined when containing on the edge. Awareness and ability to spy in the backfield improved in 2013, but is still a work in progress. Doesn’t always pick up the ball carrier and bites on play fakes. Really struggles at the point of attack when he’s engaged off the snap.
Pass Rush: A pure speed-rusher on the edge. Does a nice job lowering his shoulder to slide past linemen on the edge. Elite change of direction ability allows him to throw linemen off balance with subtle fakes when blitzing off the edge when he has room to built momentum. Strength is marginal and he’s easily stood up and thrown off balance when a lineman is able to get set and deliver a solid punch. Not a threat once he’s engaged due to a limited bull-rush ability, but he does do a great job converting speed to power and get walk a lineman back into the pocket if he uses a deep set and builds momentum.
Coverage: Has the potential to develop into a quality zone coverage linebacker, but has limited experience and awareness is below average. Still learning how to keep an eye on the backfield while remaining aware of movement around him. Struggles to read the quarterback and seems to guess a lot.
Intangibles: Made a smooth transition from offense to defense. Coaches praised his work ethic. Made significant stride in terms of fundamentals from 2012 to 2013.
Durability: Missed time due to knee surgery in 2011.
Comments: Barr projects as an outside linebacker in the 3-4 or a strong-side linebacker in a 4-3 system. He has the skill set to be a true three-down linebacker. At this stage of his career, he’s still winning mostly with raw talent but he has made huge strides his terms of his knowledge of the game and technique since switching to defense two years ago. There may be some growing pains early in his career and he may not be guaranteed a starting job in 2014, but his potential is up there with the elite prospects in this class.