Anthony Barr NFL Draft 2014: Scouting Report Breakdown for Vikings OLB

Darren PageFeatured ColumnistMay 5, 2014

Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA (HT: 6'4⅞"; WT: 255 lbs)

Minnesota Vikings (Vikings trade eighth pick to Browns for ninth and 145th picks)

First Round: Ninth Pick


NFL Comparison: Derrick Brooks, OLB, Retired (Tampa Bay Buccaneers




Overall Strengths

+ Uncommon tools that include quick feet and long arms

+ Explosive mover with an effective first step

+ High football IQ

+ Higher projectable ceiling than most prospects


Overall Weaknesses

- Inexperienced on the defensive side of the ball and has raw technique

- Unproductive using his hands with little upper-body strength

- Gets hung up on run blocks

- Didn't take the next step in senior season


Combine Weigh-In
604725533 1/2"9 3/8"
Combine Workout
40-yd dash10-yd splitVertBroad3-ConeShuttle



Anthony Barr's body is on the leaner side, but he has more functional strength than opponents may anticipate.  One of his appealing traits is height and length.  With arms that measure over 33 inches, he should be able to combat the hands of blockers and reach them first.

Barr's athletic talent is his calling card and the reason to expect big things from him as a professional.  Barr converted from running back to the defensive side of the ball after his sophomore season, and some of the traits seen in ball-carriers can be seen in him now.

His explosive first step pays dividends on the defensive side of the ball.  He gets to top speed quickly as well.  Going back to running back traits, Barr has the lateral quickness to elude blockers and quickly get around them.  He moves with noticeable fluidity and flexibility, a smooth athlete all around.



All available and relevant info points upward in terms of Anthony Barr's intangibles.  His quick transition to success on the defensive side of the ball speaks to how he takes to coaching.  As a raw prospect, that will be important for projecting his NFL career.  Barr's work ethic and leadership traits have been praised as well.


Pass Rushing

Getting to the quarterback is where Barr's athletic talents will be best put to use in the NFL.  It all starts with a quick first step and devastating speed.  When Barr has a speed advantage on the edge, he's able to flatten out and turn the corner with flexibility.

His ability to win with speed on the outside shows up repeatedly and is the core of his pass-rushing repertoire.

Speed cannot be the only attribute for a complete pass-rusher, which is where Barr's countermove comes in.  Once he has a tackle concerned with the rushes around the circle, he uses his agility and body control to dip back underneath and win to the inside.

Anthony Barr is an effective pass-rusher already, and the development arrow is pointed in the right direction.  Even as a senior, he was productive while seeing a high amount of double-teams and even being held more than most rushers.  Barr also has shown speed-to-power ability in flashes, which only adds to his arsenal.  It's all about refining his hand usage to sharpen up his rush moves and maximize his talent.


Run Support

Barr's run defense brings more concern.  Starting with the positives though, Barr obviously has tremendous chase speed in pursuit.  He tracks down ball-carriers from the backside with regularity, which keeps offenses honest in terms of play design.

The story is different when teams run at him.  Though he's adequately strong at the point of attack, his strength doesn't come from his upper body or hands.  That means he struggles to control blocks and free himself to make tackles.  Instead, he ends up getting hung up on blocks and making little impact.

Above, Oregon has an outside zone called, meaning the tight end reaches the force linebacker, the tackle reaches Barr and the guard reaches the inside linebacker walking up:

Barr's strength at the point of attack is noticeable when he has the tackle right where he wants him.  The ball-carrier will make his cut based on where Barr gets taken by the block, so Barr must extend his hands, find the ball and shed the block after the back cuts:

Instead, Barr never gets his hands into the chest of the blocker to create space for himself.  He gets rooted from the play completely.  The issues with him taking on run-blockers as a front-side defender pop up quite often.  The building blocks are there when looking at gap control, leverage and overall awareness, but it's all about what he does with his hands.  That's not quite there yet.


Pass Coverage

Coverage value isn't the main appeal for any team that drafts Barr.  Nevertheless, his ability to do it makes a difference.  The fluidity of his movement on overall agility make it comfortable for him when it comes to dropping from the line of scrimmage into zone coverage.  The baseline traits it takes to do it are all there.  As Barr improves his coverage instincts and anticipation skills, he can become a trusted coverage guy when he drops a handful of times per game.


System Fit

It's important not to overthink Anthony Barr's schematic fit.  His raw hand usage and thinner body type could encourage teams to play him off the ball, but they should not.  As an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense or edge player in hybrid defenses, he can be a terror rushing the passer off the edge.  That's where he makes the biggest difference.  

For whatever defensive scheme Barr ends up in, it comes down to putting him in position to make plays.  That position is primarily on the edge as a rusher.


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