If you aren’t tuned into Pac-12 football, you may not have heard much about UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
While the college football world shifted their attention onto Jadaveon Clowney — and for good reason — there was a playmaker on the opposite coast disrupting quarterbacks’ rhythms just as much.
Barr began his career at fullback for the Bruins, then shifted over to the defensive side of the ball to begin the 2012 season. Starting in all 14 games that year, he recorded 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss and was named a second-team All-American and first-team All-Pac-12.
This past season, Barr registered 10 sacks, 20 tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles en route to being selected as a Walter Camp All-American.
Barr is considered to be the premier 3-4 pass rusher in the 2014 class. ESPN’s Todd McShay praises his first-step quickness and elite closing burst, as well as his work ethic. Likewise, colleague Mel Kiper Jr. said Barr became a more complete linebacker in his second season at the position.
CBS Sports likens him to Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews in the fact that the skill-set is already present, but in the NFL he’ll need to polish up his game to be more consistent. Barr’s positional coach at UCLA, Jeff Ulbrich, who spent 10 seasons as a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, said Barr has all the necessary tools to be an All-Pro at the next level.
Rankings-wise, Barr is listed No. 3 overall by McShay, No. 3 by Kiper and No. 7 by CBS Sports, but all signs point to Barr being nabbed in the first round and likely in the top 10.
The first possible landing spot is Jacksonville at No. 3, but Gus Bradley could be in the mix for Johnny Manziel, and should the team opt to go defense, Clowney may be a better fit for the 4-3 scheme.
Cleveland scooped up former LSU outside backer Barkevious Mingo last year, and since the team has yet to name a new head coach, there’s no indication which direction they may go with the No. 4 overall pick in 2014.
In fact, due to scheme and unknowns at head coach, Barr may fall to the Buffalo Bills at No. 9. The addition of Barr would be a boost to an already impressive defensive front that includes Kiko Alonso and former first-rounders Marcell Dareus and Mario Williams.