In-depth scouting report: LB Anthony Barr

NFL scout Dave-Te' Thomas breaks down and grades Anthony Barr's game in more than a dozen areas important to the position, explaining where he needs to improve and in which areas he is already adept. Get the full work-up on Barr with analysis more than 3,000 words deep.

Player SchoolJersey Year Entered Test
BARR, Anthony UCLA#11 2010 
Height Weight Birth date College Position Pro Position
06:04.7255 3/18/1992 SOLB-DEWOLB
Bench Press Squat Power CleanVertical Jump Broad Jump
225x19500 33034 ½" 10'05"
Grade One Grade Two Time (10) Time (20) Time (40)
7.37.21 1.572.67 4.41
Arm Length Hands Wingspan20-Yd/60-Yd Shuttle Three-Cone
33 ½"9 3/8"-left/
8 5/8"-right
80 5/8" 4.19/11.71 6.82
2013 Best Games Nevada, Nebraska, Utah, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Arizona State, Southern California
2013 Worst Games New Mexico State, Colorado, Virginia Tech
2012 Best Games Rice, Nebraska, Oregon State, California, Washington State, Stanford (regular season), Stanford (Pac-12 Championship), Baylor
2012 Worst Games Houston, Utah, Southern California
Body Structure Barr has a well-built, angular frame, with good chest thickness, broad shoulders, tight waist and hips, thick thighs and calves. He has added over thirty pounds of muscle since entering the program as a freshman. He still has room for additional upper body growth and should max out at 265 pounds. He has very long arms, but while he has strong hands, they are not proportionate (9 3/8-inch left hand/8 5/8-inch right hand). His frame contains just 8.8% body fat.
General Report: 7.3
Athletic Ability: 7.8
Barr is a durable athlete who will play with pain. He has excellent explosiveness coming off the snap. He shows fluid change of direction agility that is evident in his above-average range. He maintains balance working down the line and has the hip flexibility to come of his backpedal and drop back in the zone sharply. He has superb leaping ability (34½-inch vertical jump/10'05" broad jump) and plays with good strength. He can chase the ball down from sideline to sideline (see 2013 Utah, California and Oregon games/2012 Oregon State, Colorado and Washington State games) and utilizes his leaping skills to be disruptive going up or knocking down the ball. His lateral range allows him to flow to the ball with great ease of movement (6.82 three-cone drill). He stays on his feet working through trash and has the quickness to suddenly close on the ball.
Football Sense: 6.2
Barr is still developing his read and react skills, as he continues to adjust to strong-side linebacker (came into the program as a tailback and was shifted to fullback before moving to defense). He has made steady improvement locating the ball when working through trash. He shows a good feel for plays in front of him and has no problems digesting the playbook. He continues to pick up blocking schemes well and in time, should have a good understanding of most game situations. Still, even with his size, his lack of great recognition skills will see him perform on the weak-side in the NFL.
Character: 7.5
Barr is the team's unquestioned leader, not only because of his athletic ability, but also due to his work ethic and desire to mentor the younger players. He is a respectful sort who shows good judgment and responsibility. He has an easy-going personality and likes to be involved with his teammates. He has no known off-field issues and is the type that will be an involved community worker for whatever team he plays for.
Competitiveness: 7.3
This kid has a relentless motor. He plays until the whistle and takes advantage of his excellent range to make plays sideline-to-sideline. He makes plays all over the field and delivers force behind his hits. He shows outstanding toughness and a desire to compete. One thing that is unquestioned is his high energy, but there is read-and-react limitations, as he is not always quick in seeing the plays develop. He will step up and take on the lead block and is not the type that monitors his statistics, as only a victory is important to him. Still, he is the team's top playmaker and the defense's success revolves around his performance when attacking the backfield. He plays a physical game and shows excellent explosiveness, but will need to improve his weight room strength to face up to the bigger blockers at the next level and show better activity using his hands to fend off blocks. He plays with true aggression and will not hesitate to take on and face up to the larger offensive linemen, but just has to keep his hands inside his frame better to prevent opponents from latching on to his jersey, as he has yet to develop an array of moves.
Work Habits: 7.7
Barr is the consummate team player. He works hard in practices and the training room, setting a good example for the younger players. He spends the extra hours in the film room studying his upcoming opponent and states that football is very important to him. He takes extra care of his body, doing what the trainers ask and then some, evident by the additional 20 pounds of muscle added to his frame prior to his senior year. He takes care of the "little things" needed to improve and plays with great desire. He wants to be in on every tackle and makes the effort to always be around the ball. He will do whatever his coaches ask and he likes to play on all special teams.
Athletic Report: 7.19
Key and Diagnostic Skills: 7.2
Having began his career as a running back and then moved to strongside linebacker, Barr will again have to adjust to a new environment. He struggled a bit to locate the ball earlier in the 2012 season after moving to defense, but by the second half he was much more comfortable in his "freelance" role, recording 37 of his 83 tackles and five of his 13.5 sacks in his final five games. He has the range to get to the ball suddenly, doing a nice job of opening his hips to change direction and string the plays out. During the 2013 season, Barr showed much-improved instincts and awareness, as he had become comfortable in his new role. He made fluid and more decisive adjustments on the move and had a good nose for the plays in front of him (see 2013 Nevada, Utah, California, Oregon and Arizona State games). When he sees the plays develop, he has shown better reactions to misdirection and play action than he did as a junior, but he is still a neophyte in his read-and-react skills. He is still developing a natural feel, much like that of DeMarcus Ware when he first shifted to linebacker during his rookie year with Dallas. He can track and flow to the ball well and is developing that natural feel needed to play his position, but will still need a year or two to continue acclimating to the defensive side of the ball.
Playing Strength and Explosion: 6.5
Barr continues to work hard in the weight room to add more bulk and strength. He makes the most out of his functional power, but could use some further upper body bulk development. He is quick to shed blocks thanks to his active hands and long arms that he uses effectively to keep blockers off his body. He keeps position and has a solid club move to separate from the larger blockers. He is more explosive than strong at the moment, but generates natural pop upon contact. His ability to shock and jolt with his hands allows him to compensate for the size/bulk difference when facing up to the offensive linemen. He takes on the lead blocker and holds his ground at the point of attack. When he gets his hands on an opponent, he will usually leverage, shed and attack the ball (see 2013 Utah, Arizona State and Southern California games).
Lateral Pursuit/Range: 8.2
Barr is an athlete with sudden explosion to the ball. He has excellent sideline-to-sideline range and ease of movement with outstanding balance. His flexibility allows him to plant, stop and redirect suddenly. He has excellent closing speed and while he is still trying to learn the concept for taking proper angles to shorten the field, you can see the urgency and effort in his attempts. His change-of-direction agility allows him to turn and run on the ball. He uses his hands effectively to shed blocks and flow to the play. He has the agility to thread through traffic (see 2013 Nevada, California, Oregon, Arizona State and Southern California games) and the quickness to close. Barr covers the whole field and is especially effective chasing from the backside with an explosive burst. There will be times where he will take bad angles, but it is due to his relative lack of experience and not because he is throttling down or hesitating. His hand usage let him avoid blockers on the move, showing the desire to get to the ball and cut off the ball carrier, but when he exposes his chest and fails to keep those hands inside his frame, he can be moved off the ball and stalled by reach blocks.
Use of Hands: 6.3
Barr can play in a downed three-point position or stand-up. He does a very good job of getting into and maintaining position when he keeps his hands active, but that is not something he does with consistency (see 2013 Colorado and Virginia Tech games). He has the power and hand quickness to easily reroute the tight ends through their patterns and delivers a strong jolt to jam his opponent at the line. He has very good hand/eye coordination and while he might trap a few balls, he has the natural hands to extend and pluck the ball away from the frame, just no interceptions to show for those efforts. He has functional strength and can control and get off blocks, even when matching up vs. the larger offensive linemen, but only when he keeps his hands active to protect his jersey from being latched on.
Tackling Ability: 7.2
Barr makes things happen on the field thanks to his range and arm-tackling ability. He is still a work in progress in knowing how to shorten the field by taking proper angles, but has the balance and body control to do so (just needs more reps in these situations). He stays low in his pads and has crisp cutting ability, along with the effortless lateral agility to flow to the ball. He stays square and does a good job of wrapping and securing in plays in front of him, but will sometimes take a side when stalled by a lead blocker. He plays at a good pad level and, while he is still developing needed strength, he is an explosive hitter with the pop to drop running backs. He brings his arms properly to fit and secure. Even though he plays with reckless abandon, he is not prone to over-pursuing the play. He is an athletic tackler who will bring the ball carrier down when he faces up to his opponent.
Run Defense: 7.6
When Barr is active with his hands, he has the moves to slip and avoid blockers to get through trash, but is best playing vs. the outside run than working in-line. When having to cover the inside rush, he does not have the strength or proper hand usage to prevent the offensive linemen from riding him out, once they are able to lock on to him. He does have functional strength at the point of attack, but must rely more on his quickness in order to step up and take on the lead blocks. When he uses his hands effectively, Barr is capable of filling the gaps. The thing I like about him is, even when the bigger blockers attack him, he works hard to get back into the play. He is best utilizing his change of direction and speed on the corners, where he can get to the ball carrier and cut off the play. He runs through traffic well and has the stop-and-go action to recover when he over-pursues. His speed lets him cut off runners with his backside pursuit and is very good at maintaining leverage and keeping containment vs. the outside run. He shows great agility and balance in that area, as he stays on his feet, clears trash and gets to the ball thanks to his quickness and speed.
Pass Defense: 7
Considering he works mostly in run containment during his two years as a defensive player, he made steady improvement adjusting to pass coverage assignments as the 2013 season progressed (see 2013 Nebraska, Oregon and Southern California games). He gets good depth in his pass drops and shows the range to close on the ball in a hurry. He has more than enough speed to run with the blazing receivers through their routes and the flexibility to mirror his opponent going deep, but sometimes does not anticipate the ball in flight. He has the agility to open his hips and take no wasted steps in transition. He showed much better ability the second half of the 2013 season in keeping his head on a swivel. He just needs more experience in order to know when to time his leaps and look up for the ball. His short area quickness allows him to shadow the tight ends and running backs on underneath routes. Barr is still developing better discipline in his pass drops and continues to show good improvement in getting square to the ball and reacting when dropping off in the zone.
Zone Defense: 6.2
This is an area that needs further improvement. Barr still needs to develop a better feel for reading the quarterback, as he tends to eye the backfield too long. He relies on his speed and recovery ability to shadow receivers through their routes, but needs to recognize the patterns developing quicker. When he gets a good read on the play, he has the quickness to suddenly break on the ball. Still, you can see his marked improvement in this area late in the 2013 season. If he continues to progress, he is sure to develop into a solid pass coverage defender, but for now, this, along with hand usage, are his two biggest deficiencies.
Pass Rush and Blitz: 8.5
In 2012, Barr became an outstanding blitzer and edge rusher. He shows explosion in his initial step and the ability to close and push the pocket. He takes good angles in his backside pursuit and runs with that explosive burst and fine timing to get a great jump on the ball (see 2013 Utah, California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona State and Southern California games). He closes with desire and is very good at shortening the field by taking proper angles. When working inside, he is very active with his hands, but can get hung up in traffic due to his lack of ideal hand usage to defeat the offensive linemen. He has a natural feel when he is in the backfield, knowing when to generate explosiveness to close on the blitz. He can "dog" inside or off the edge and has more than enough athletic agility and speed to flush out and chase down the quarterback. Once he learns to use his hands better in attempts to work through traffic and get free, he will be a force to be reckoned with at the weak-side position.
Barr is an excellent athlete with exceptional speed and quickness for his position. The former running back moved into the starting lineup as a strong-side outside linebacker during his junior season. He found a home at his new position and quickly developed into one of the most feared pass rushers in the country.

The son of Tony Brooks, his father played fullback at Notre Dame before being selected in the fourth round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles, spending just one season on an NFL roster. Tony's younger brother and Barr's uncle, Reggie Brooks, also played football at Notre Dame, where he rushed for 1,343 yards and 13 touchdowns on 167 carries as a senior in 1992. He was selected by the Washington Redskins in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft, gaining 1,063 rushing yards with a 4.8-yard average as a rookie, but was only with the team for three seasons, spending the 1996 schedule with Tampa Bay. Barr's uncle, Cedric Figaro, was a linebacker at Notre Dame, who was selected in the sixth round of the 1988 draft by San Diego, playing with the Chargers until 1990. He spent the 1991 season with Indianapolis, was a member of the Cleveland Browns organization from 1991-92) and concluded his career with the St. Louis Rams (1995-96).

Barr started 37-of-51 games at UCLA that included his first 10 starting assignments as a fullback and his final 27 appearances as the right outside linebacker. He made 151 tackles (103 solos) with 23.5 sacks for minus 136 yards, 40.5 stops for losses of 214 yards and six quarterback pressures. He caused nine fumbles, recovered four others and deflected six passes. He also gained 54 yards with a touchdown on 15 carries (3.6 ypc), 82 yards with another score on 12 receptions (6.83 ypc) and 10 yards on one punt return.

Barr has steadily developed into an impact-type of player. He has outstanding lateral agility and range, but needs to do a better job of shortening the field by taking proper angles to the ball. He seems to have found a home at linebacker, where is able to freelance and attack the ball. He shows urgency chasing down ball carriers along the corners and has an explosive first step to penetrate the backfield and close on the quarterback as an edge rusher and blitzer.

Barr shows very good flexibility and knee bend, looking sudden in his moves to redirect. He does a good job of keeping the plays in front of him and is active with his hands when trying to reroute tight ends and running backs in the short area, just not as active with his "mitts" when battling offensive linemen in one-on-one confrontations. He is used as a nine-tech in under defense and as a stack linebacker in an over defense. He plays with his shoulders square when taking on tight end and works hard with his rip and swim moves to get off blocks.

Barr is effective when asked to skate and shed blocks from a stack-off position, but needs to add more strength and be more active with his hands to prevent the bigger blockers from locking on and stymieing him when operating through trash. He plays with good body control, balance and agility. He has quick lateral movements in his chase from the backside, but is still developing the recognition skills to pick up reverses. His speed allows him to knife through kick-out blocks and he has developed a good feel to come off and make plays behind the line of scrimmage.

Barr shows natural feet in his zone drops, but tends to eye the quarterback too much, making him guess at the receiver's route progression. Barr is best when allowed to take angles to the ball. He is quick coming out of the three-point stance as an outside rusher and has the cover skills to mirror the receivers and break on the ball. When the ball is thrown, Barr has the acceleration and burst to recover and redirect to the play. He has the leverage and speed to cut off the outside runner and is a hard hitter who will drive with his legs, extend his arms, wrap and secure.

Barr uses his hands well to jam receivers at the line and has the functional strength and good hand usage to keep blockers off his body. He is still more of an arm tackler, but will not hesitate to leave his feet in order to make the hit. He shows explosiveness on initial contact and is an all-out hustler with a strong desire to make plays in and out of the box. He performs well on all special teams and has a great work ethic. Even at 255 pounds, Barr is built more for speed, but with additional bulk and strength, he should develop into a fine all-around player, especially if asked to play with his hand down as an edge rusher. His competitiveness, speed and overall athletic ability will make him a top priority for a blitzing defense come draft day.
Compares To: BRIAN ORAKPO, Washington Redskins
Like Orakpo, Barr has the closing burst and range to make plays all over the field. He operates more on instincts than technique, as he's only played two seasons as a linebacker and is still a work in progress with his read-and-react skills. Still, he is a cat-quick edge rusher with the range to play from sideline-to-sideline. He might be better served on the weak side, as he lacks the brute strength to match up one-on-one with the offensive tackle as a strong-side linebacker or when playing defensive end coming off the edge, but he will beat the lineman with quickness rather than strength. He will need time to develop, but will bring instant value in obvious pass rush situations.

Viking Update Top Stories