2014 NFL Draft Scouting Report: UCLA Outside Linebacker Anthony Barr
To prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft InsidetheFilmRoom is breaking down the best 5 prospects from every position. This week we are examining the top pass rushing prospects and we are focusing our attention on UCLA’s Anthony Barr today.
Lured to UCLA with the promise of playing offense, Anthony Barr’s college career was alter significantly was defensive minded Jim Mora was hired in 2012. With a crowed backfield and a lack of depth at linebacker, Mora convinced Barr to switch from tight end to rush linebacker.
The results were incredible as Barr exploded with a NCAA leading 13.5 sacks during his first season on the defensive side of the ball. While he was unable to take the next step and build on his success last season, Barr has a ton of potential because of length and athleticism.
NFL scouts have noticed that potential and see Barr as a high risk/reward player that could develop into a truly special edge rusher. To get to that point Barr will have to continue getting stronger, learn how to anchor at the point of attack and improve in coverage. Even with that long list of improvements, Barr is predicted to go in the top half of the 1st round because he has shown the ability to get after the quarterback.
Length/Size: 6 foot 5 frame, long arms, lots of room to add muscle/strength and has the prototypical body type for a 3-4 OLB.
Athleticism: Incredible speed and agility, not the most explosive athlete but extremely fluid, ran a supposed 4.41 40 yard at his Pro Day, has great chase down speed, uses his lateral agility to get around blocks and is the reason behind his high ceiling.
Speed Rusher: Great burst off the ball, long arms to prevent tackles from engaging him, nice shoulder dip move, runs a tight arc and dominated opposition with it despite it being his only pass rushing move.
Brings the Pain: Delivers monster hits on quarterbacks, forced a bunch of fumbles, hurt multiple quarterbacks and seems to have the attitude you want for a front seven defender..
Potential: Has all of the raw tools to be a special player in the NFL, showed flashed of other pass rushing moves, good ball skills that could be very effective in coverage, could be blow up run plays with his penetration and has only played defense for two seasons.
Raw: Lacks any other pass rushing moves other than a speed rush, looks uncomfortable in coverage, needs a lot of refinement in every aspect of his game but his rawness is understandable having only played defense for two seasons.
Strength: Lacks the strength/size to anchor the point of attack, poor leverage, got pushed back consistently by double teams, teams were able to handle him with TEs or FBs and he is limited to a situational passer rusher as of right now.
Overall: If you just watch the highlights of Anthony Barr you could easily be fooled into thinking he is some sort of Jadeveon Clowney light, a lightening quick pass rusher with devastating potential. While you would be right about the potential, Barr is very far from a finished prospect. And it is understandable why given his limited exposure to the position and body type suited for a WR/TE hybrid.
But his rawness is a real worry because currently he is only usable right now as a situational pass rusher and it is uncertain if he will ever become a complete player. He simply lacks the strength and leverage to be even an average player against the run and awareness in space is poor at best. Additionally, Barr is a one dimensional pass rusher that lacks any legitimate move outside of the speed rush.
The one thing Barr has in spades is potential. It is why his highlights are so impressive and why NFL teams are willing to invest a high 1st round draft pick on him. If he can realize his potential– particularly developing into a well rounded pass rusher with dangerous pass rushing moves– Barr can become a game changer at the rush linebacker position.
Prediction: Top Half of the 1st Round
Other 2014 Pass Rushers Scouting Reports: