Before They Were Pros: LB Anthony Barr

Before he was a first-round draft pick of the Vikings, Anthony Barr was talking about his conversion to defense, dropping into coverage, where he needs to improve, comparisons to NFL players and why his mother pushed him into football.

Anthony Barr at the NFL Scouting Combine:

On his transition from offense to defense …
The transition was pretty smooth, honestly. Difficult at first. I think moving backwards, going back in coverage, was something that was new to me. But now I feel comfortable with that. Just sort of getting used to the position. It’s still sort of new to me in a sense. It’s exciting. If I continue to work, the sky’s the limit.”

On why it is a help …
“I think I can kind of understand offensive schemes, how offenses want to attack you and the formations. Maybe little tips and keys a running back gives away. He’s looking at you, peeking at you that he’s going to cut-block you, stuff like that.”

On if defense is a better fit for his personality …
“I’m a pretty aggressive person, especially when it comes to competing. I think (defense) gives me a little outlet.”

On areas he needs to improve …
“Shedding blocks, defending the run, using my hands. I think those things are still new to me, things I’m still working on. If I continue to work on it, I think I’ll be able to perfect those.”

On his size when he started college as a running back …
“I was about 6-3 when I got to UCLA and about 225. I kind of grew up a little bit.”

On his running style …
“I’ve got good feet, man. You’d be surprised.”

On what he learned from Datone Jones
“Datone (told me) what you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. If you put your heart and soul into it, the things you receive from the game can be very beneficial to you.”

On whether he is big enough to play defensive end …
“I’d say yes. I feel comfortable at this weight, but if a team would ask me to put on weight and put my hand on the ground I’m doing that.”

On how much he dropped into coverage last year …
“I’d say about 30 percent, not very often. But when I was asked to do it I thought I did a pretty good job at that.”

On what he wants to show scouts when working out …
“I think showing them change of direction, the shuttle drill and also the field drills. Maybe show them a part of me they haven’t seen.”

On NFL players that are similar to him …
Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, guys like that. One day I’d like to be named with those guys.

On what Jim Mora told him about the NFL …
“It’s a business. College is fun and games and we can enjoy that. But when you get to the NFL, it’s business. You can also have fun doing it, but you’ve got to understand people’s jobs are on the line. You’ve got to come to work every day.”

On UCLA being willing to switch positions for players …
“Our coaches just put the best players in a position to make plays and try and win games. It’s that simple. We have some great athletes at UCLA so anytime (Mora) felt he could (move players) that worked for us a little bit.”

On what he wants NFL teams to know about him …
“Just that this guy’s a good-character person. He can speak well. He’s more than just a football player.”

On missing tackles last year and if he was still getting used to linebacker …
“I’d say so. It’s something I’ll continue to work on. Like I said, I’m far from a finished product. That’s definitely an area that needs to be improved.”

On when he started playing football:
“My mom kind of pushed me towards it when I was 8 years old. I started playing Pop Warner football when I was 9. I’ve played every year since.”

On why his mom pushed him …
“I think growing up without my father in the house, she wanted me to be in an environment with more men, see how good that type of environment … that’s why she kind of pushed me towards it.”

On a comparison to Jadeveon Clowney
“I haven’t really watched any tape on him. I’m very comfortable rushing the passer. I continue to say there’s a lot I need to work on. But to be mentioned with Clowney is pretty cool.”


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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