With the NFL Draft coming up this week, GJB will be looking at some of UCLA’s potential picks. Today we look at outside linebacker, Anthony Barr.
Height: 6’5”, Weight: 255 lbs., Arm Length: 33½”, Hands: 9 3/8”
His Time At UCLA
One of the biggest stars from UCLA in the last decade had an unusual path to becoming a dominant defensive threat. Barr started as a running back for the Bruins but never got a chance with the depth at the position. UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora saw his talent and with the linebacking corps thin, convinced Barr to switch to the defensive side of the ball. In his two years playing outside linebacker, Barr has exceeded expectations of the Bruin coaches and has developed into a potential 1st round pick.
Last season, Barr was sixth on the team in tackles with 65.0, but first in tackles for loss (20.0 for 109 yards) and sacks (10.0 for 66 yards).
The 40: 4.66 sec
Bench: 15 reps
Vertical: 34.5 inches
Broad: 119.0 inches
3-Cone Drill: 6.82 sec
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.19 sec
Why Barr Will Be An Asset
As a former running back, he knows the mentality of the offensive run game. The ability to know what RBs might be looking for against defenses, allows him that advantage. Another advantage to being a former RB, is that he also has the speed to get to the ball, specifically in the backfield.
UCLA ran a 3-4 defensive scheme, which Barr as a LB, often played close to the line of scrimmage and disrupted the offensive game plan. Playing on the line saw Barr as a threat to the action in the back field, but also worked as a ruse in case he needed to work off the line. He is a big hitter when making tackles in the open field, but did a lot of damage when quarterbacks would hold onto the ball too long.
What Barr Has To Improve On
The drawback of only playing a position for two years before heading to a professional level, is that he has not fully-developed into a defensive threat. His pursuit is average and can be easily locked up by offensive blockers. That will be a challenge for him to get through againt the League’s bigger, faster offensive linemen.
Anthony Barr is a wrecking ball. The fact that he is predicted to, not only go in the first round, but in the top 10, shows that he is not raw, but an actual linebacking threat. With time and experience in the NFL, he could make a huge impact for the team that selects him. The fact that he may go high in the 1st round of the draft means one of the lesser teams in the League will select him (pending trades). If that is the case, he could play a vital role early in his career. If he does go to a more disciplined team, he could play off the bench and develop, which would help him ease into his professional career.