Draft Daily: What If Anthony Barr Slips?

Anthony Barr

Anthony Barr began his college career at UCLA on the offensive side of the ball.

In high school, he averaged 171 rushing yards per game, but suffered a broken ankle as a senior and struggled to get healthy as a college freshman. During his sophomore year, Barr got limited touches, and when Jim Mora took over, it was decided that Barr would be best served moving to the defensive side of the ball.


Two years later, the 6-5, 255-pound outside linebacker is in position to be a first-round pick in May's draft.

In addition to the height, Barr has 33 1/2-inch arms and outstanding athleticism:

The son of Tony Brooks (a fourth-round pick by the Eagles in 1992), Barr had 10 sacks last season and 13 in 2012. He had 20 tackles for loss as a senior (eighth) and 21 as a junior (tied for seventh).

For the Eagles, a team looking to add depth at outside linebacker and find an eventual replacement for Trent Cole, Barr makes a lot of sense. But there is a rawness to his game, which is understandable, considering he's only played the position for two seasons.

Chip Kelly has stated in specific terms what he wants out of his outside linebackers: guys who can set the edge/play the run, get after the quarterback and drop in coverage. From what I saw out of Barr, he needs some work to be a complete player in those three areas.

Let's start with the run game. This is a weakness for Barr. In the games I watched, he was often controlled by offensive tackles and even tight ends. Last year, Connor Barwin and Trent Cole consistently manhandled tight ends who tried to block them one-on-one in the run game.

Take a look at this play against USC:

Barr sets up at right outside linebacker (as he did on most of the snaps I watched). The tight end comes in motion and blocks him upfield, opening up a hole for the running back. Defending the run is something Barr will absolutely have to work on this spring and summer.

Without the benefit of the All-22, it's tough to properly evaluate Barr in coverage. His athleticism suggests he'd be fine there in the Eagles' scheme, especially when you consider how Cole performed in the new role last season.

But I didn't see anything particularly special from Barr in coverage. It's not like Dion Jordan last year, who lined up all over the place for Oregon and ran with tight ends and receivers 10 yards downfield. I'm not saying Barr can't be that kind of asset in coverage. I just didn't see it in the games I watched. And while he was moved around a little, it would take a significant projection to see him in Barwin's "jack" role.

Of course, the key to playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 is the pass-rush. And that's where Barr had success in college. Here's an example against USC:

Barr beats the tight end around the edge and uses his length to strip the football.

Here's a similar play against Oregon:

This time, Barr beats the left tackle, flies off the edge and strips Marcus Mariota.

Because his biggest threat will be his outside rush, Barr can set up tackles who guard against that and get pressure with an inside move. Here's a spin against USC:

There's plenty to like about Barr - specifically the length and athleticism. But this is a player who will need to be coached up at the NFL level. If the Eagles were to draft him, I'm not sure he'd beat Cole out for the starting job by the time Week 1 rolled around.

Opinions seem to vary greatly on where Barr might get selected. Gil Brandt of NFL.com said recently that Barr is becoming the wild card of the first round - a player who could go as high as No. 6 to the Falcons or as low as No. 16 to the Cowboys. It seems unlikely, although not impossible, that Barr would drop all the way down to the Eagles at No. 22.

There has been some discussion recently about the Birds potentially moving up to snatch Barr if he starts to slip. That would be a risky move in my opinion. As we've mentioned before, this is a loaded draft and the Eagles only have six picks. Giving up additional ammo for a player who is not considered polished makes little sense to me.

If Barr falls to No. 22 though, the Eagles would likely give him serious consideration.

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  • Tom W

    would need to consider a move up if he gets to 19 before the Cards and Pack pick .. two 3-4 teams. costs about a 100 pts on trade chart. Give up 22 and our third rounder to dolphins for 19 and their fourth rounder. I would do that for Barr.

    He needs to drop past the Titans at 11 (main concern), ravens and steelers (not as much a concern), and the dopey cowboys who want to convert him to a d end like the dumb dolphins did w Jordan. Part of me wants the cowboys to do that so they suck but I’d rather get him.

    • CSA

      I think you are right on with your analysis. The Cowboys are definitely the wild card but all this talk of the Cowboys in love with Manziel has got me dreaming.

      • Tom W

        Yea I heard that too but Shefty said Manzel is going between 3-13 and he is almost never wrong and knows more people than anyone. I guess he knows the Rams will take him at 13 or entertain trade up offers at 13. Cowboys will find a way to screw things up … hopefully they take Jernigan

        • cliff henny

          JM to Dallas seems unlikely. Romo is basically guaranteed starter for 3 more years. and JJ has said often that drafting a backup qb isn’t worthy of pick b4 5th round. they almost have to go dline, they have no one. agree, love Barr on eagles, think cowboys would be about worst team for him.

        • CSA

          Agreed. Jerry would probably have to trade up to 10-13. That would make it even better. I wish that this chatter had never started because now I am wishing so hard. I’ve never been religious but I’m already praying. I would love to see exactly how dumb Jerry could be.

        • JofreyRice

          obviously, every QB that gets picked ahead of the Eagles shifts another prospect down as an option at #22; or makes guys drop into a range where trade-ups aren’t as costly. Win-win for Eagles.

    • Engwrite

      I don’t think so. Reportedly the Eagles were unwilling to give up a 1st rounder plus Graham for Dion Jordan so they are unlikely to give up an 1st and a 3rd for a lesser prospect.

      • Tom W

        We are getting a fourth back and Barr has a lot more edge production potential … Kid had 20 plus last two year … Think Jordan had half that. At its arguable Jordan is a better prospect. Jordan would probably go around 20 in this draft too.

      • southy

        THERE’S STILL TIME

      • Jerry Pomroy

        Barr is by far a better pass rushing prospect than Jordan coming out. He’s much more raw than Jordan, but he’s a more natural edge rusher and plays with much more tenacity. Not saying I wouldn’t be happy with Jordan. I just think he has less of a natural pass rusher and compares closer to Barwin, than to long premium edge rushers like an Aldon Smith or DeMarcus Ware. Barr has that type of pass rush potential.

  • Tom W

    Check out rotoworld’s recent article on its nfl draft page on edge rushers …. really shows Atta-boy’s versatility as an edge rusher when stacked up against Ford, Ealy and Mack. Attaboy put consistent pressure on the qb play to play for both the right side and left side his senior year. and his junior year he played more olb and switched to d end his senior year in a new scheme. Chip and Davis have to be salivating over getting Barr, Atta-boy, Marcus Smith on this team on the edge and Van Noy or Christian Jones in the middle. Dee ford is so overrated.

    http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/46981/349/peshek-edge-rushers-20

    • Eagles1018

      Tom you are the man. More articles to waste my day away. I couldn’t thank you more…..

    • Eagles1018

      After dissecting your link, Attaochu is the best bet. Especially being that he’s predicted to be a 2nd round value. Hope he’s there at 54 tho…either way if were patient on getting him it gives us a chance to look at BPA defensively, hopefully one of the top 2 safeties or Beckham/Cooks. Not high on Lee at 22 only the 2 WR mentioned. I leave Evans and whoevever else out because they will no doubt be long gone

    • Jerry Pomroy

      There is another group that he includes in this study (part1). He also compiled a sack study a couple months ago. One key point I took away from the sack study and the pass rush efficiency study is that while Barr didn’t get many pressures, he did face blocking on 100% of his sacks for ’13. So he didn’t get any freebies being left unblocked. He also was one of the fastest in getting to the QB & had much less help on his sacks against some good competition. So one could argue that Barr was one of the most productive at getting to the QB & bringing him down on his own efforts while being contested on each one.

      The links to the other studies…

      http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/46928/349/peshek-edge-rushers-10

      http://www.rotoworld.com/articles/cfb/46337/349/peshek-sack-study-10

      Really wish he’d added Marcus Smith to both studies. Very curious as to where he’s match up, although I’d bet he’d be near the top.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      “Dee ford is so overrated.”….

      I’ll second that. I can’t understand why people are still so hung up on him for us as our answer at ROLB. He’s not a LB, he’s not a guy that’ll produce from right side. He’s got Wide-9 written all over him in a Jason Babin type front side (left side) rushing role.

  • Glenn

    I do not think this guy is worth the 22 pick. Especially if either Cooks, Lee or Beckham are available. Or the two safeties. This guy has too many holes in his game, and is not polished enough to be a first round pick.

    • Will

      Aren’t graham and Curry both 4-3 DL trying to play OLB? Put Graham back in the 4-3 and he is a beast. I think Barr has a lot of upside and may be the best at OLB outside of Mack and Clowney. IMO he’s a great value in the late first round. Take in account that both safeties will not be there at 22, neither will all three receivers you mentioned. I do respect your opinion though…

      • Glenn

        Would love to see Graham and Curry get more reps on the DL. Graham has been misused for most of his Eagle career, and should be converted back to the line. And, yes, on a 4-3 team, would be great.

      • Andy124

        I don’t think Curry is trying to transition to OLB.

        • Will

          Yeah you are right, we have him playing 3-4 end. Still out of position..

          • Andy124

            Yup. The thing with the “tweeners” Graham and Curry is that they’re not tweeners at all. If they were tweeners, they’d be far better off. They’re pure 4-3 DE’s playing out of position. Barr is a pure 3-4 OLB still learning the position.

            23 sacks in 1st two years at position in a top-3 conference with excellent measurables. As long as the kid interviews well he’s a great prospect.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, I believe in him. Projecting passrushers is always tough, but if you’re talking about probability–his physical dimensions, his athletic traits, his success despite inexperience; all these things make it seem probable he’ll succeed in transitioning to the pro game.

          • Andy124

            Always about playing the odds.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Don’t forget his tenacity. Killer instincts is something you just can’t coach. Combine that with his success despite inexperience, measurables and his natural ability and this kid has homerun hitter written all over him.

          • Maggie

            If you mean interviews speaking English and making intelligent observations, he’s a lock. Character? Could have been drafted last year, but elected to go back to school. After he wrecked Barkley’s shoulder. In only 2 years on D he won several national awards. Personal stats? Dad drafted by the Eagles after playing at Notre Dame. And Anthony was born in South Bend!

          • Andy124

            If you’re trying to talk me out of Barr, that last sentence is a good start.

    • peteike

      He is a bit of a gamble, youd be drafting on potential here so I get being skeptical

    • JosephR2225

      I’m not sure I get the “not polished enough” argument. Lane Johnson wasn’t polished. It’s not like all coaching stops when he gets to the NFL and he is at his ceiling now.
      He’s only been playing the position a couple years. You watch him rush the passer though and you can’t help but think what he’ll look like once he is polished.

      • NickS1

        With this coaching staff, no, the coaching does not stop. Some outfits, however, do not coach…cough, Andy, cough.

      • Andy124

        I look at it as a positive even. If he’s this good without polish, imagine him with polish.

        • JosephR2225

          There’s an analogy about baseball players that if you have two guys who run to first base in the same time, but one has perfect form and the other has terrible form, you always take the one with terrible form. Because when you teach him correct form, he’ll be faster than the other guy.

        • Jerry Pomroy

          Exactly. The kid’s ceiling is perennial all-pro at a premium position. The upside on Barr is much higher than ANY of the receiver prospects in the entire draft. He’s got a killer instincts for QBs that you just can’t manufacture through coaching. That’s very impressive for a player just 2yrs on the defensive side of the ball.

    • JofreyRice

      If he was a “complete” prospect that set the edge and dropped, along with his physical dimensions and pass rush skills, he’d be an option at #1, overall. I really think it can’t be overstated that he has only been playing defense for 2 seasons, and was ultra productive in the second best conference in the nation. Just my opinion, but I think Barr and Bridgewater are both suffering from being under the microscope for so long. I think teams that pass them up are going to regret it.

      • Glenn

        I don’t disagree with you. My board would be Cooks, Beckham, Lee, and Barr. Jeremiah Attaochu would be my second round target. But if those three WR’s are gone, I would go with Barr, and a WR in the second round.

        • JofreyRice

          Truthfully, it’s going to take a monumental screw up to disappoint me, there are just too many talented players. If they went OLB/WR in rounds 1&2, I’d be happy with any combo of Barr/Ford & A-Rob/Moncrief/Benjamin (I know, a work in progress, but I think he’s a value at end of the second).

          I’d also be more than happy with ODB/Cooks/Lee & Attaochu/Marcus Smith.

          I’d also be thrilled with Fuller & Bitonio, or Gilbert & Niklas. So many good combos and options in this group, it’s tough to go wrong.

          • Glenn

            Would be thrilled with Cooks/Attaochu. Would be thrilled with Barr/Benjamin

    • myeaglescantwin

      He’s not a tweener. That’s reserved for someone that is basically a 4-3 DE conversion to 3-4 OLB. Brandon Graham as you stated.

      Curry is a 4-3 DE that is playing a pass rush DE in our passing downs, usually in a 4 DE set. You could argue he isn’t a system fit, but he’s not a tweener. If anything they want him bigger to play full time 3-4 DE.

      Barr is more along the lines of what we saw with Lane Johnson. A converted player with outstanding talent.

      Barr is competing against guys that have played D their entire careers. Furthermore, he is being mentioned at the top of the class in a position he has only played 2 years. You have to give some credit there.

      The progression shown by Lane was as a starter, so every move he made was under a microscope. Barr will be able to be a rotational player where the DC can put him in the best positions to make his natural plays while gaining experience and a pro skillset.

      • Glenn

        All excellent points. Barr does have a lot of potential. I think at 22, he would be a good pick, especially if there is a run of WR’s taken. I would rather them take either Cooks or Beckham over Barr, because I think those guys would really have an impact in Kelly’s system. I would like to see Curry and Graham have another year to adjust.

        • myeaglescantwin

          I’m with you on all points.

          Though i disagree with taking a WR in rd -1 there is no doubt either of those guys will excel.

          I think Curry is going to continue to mature into an impact player. & i’m pretty sure he bulked up into the 290′s during the offseason. Same with Kruger.

  • cliff henny

    love the strip sacks! plus, this guys chasing down RG3 easily. have Cole for at least a year to worry about run downs. let this kid do what he does best, hunt qbs for a year while learning on the job.

    • JofreyRice

      Yup. Of course he needs refinement, but he gets after the QB. Who cares if he starts over Cole week one? If he pressures QBs on 3rd down, he’s well worth #22.

      • Maggie

        On his chart, both weight and lifts can be changed. Simultaneously! Having heard him talk, I also believe he is coachable. Not everyone is. AND there seems to be talk that Dallas wants him! Do we really want him killing Foles twice a year?

        • Jerry Pomroy

          That (DAL wanting him) bothers me. I see a kid that if coached up is an all-pro talent in the making & I don’t want to see JJ let go one QB terror only to draft another. I do think that it’s odd that he’s linked to DAL as he’s a pure 3-4 ROLB if there is one & don’t think he easily develops into 4-3 DE like DAL is now running. Regardless, if we don’t somehow land him, I do NOT want him in the same division.

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      love him.
      reminds me of LJ last year. Same story, different side of the ball.
      Converted position player, very smart and great positional awareness; raw but already showing results, upside tremendous with decent floor (worst case, I see Barr as a situational rusher as cliff says until run D and technique refined); Can probably start Day 1 as “solid” player, luckily (unlike LJ) has a great vet to learn from and ease into snaps.
      LJ didn’t disappoint me. I don’t think Barr will either.

  • myeaglescantwin

    Then you draft his ass!!!

    i wouldnt throw out a kings ransom, but maybe we can package graham, or some future picks to move up a few slots.

  • Andy124

    Hello there sexy 3-cone time. How you doin’?

    • NickS1

      How about his baby hands? Chip won’t like that.

      • Eagledelphia

        Maybe not but They took Ertz last year and I remember him being described as having T-Rex arms so the measurables may be a little overhyped

        • Andy124

          Like Barr, Ertz rocked the 3-cone. It’s an omen.

          • NickS1

            I feel better now. Thanks.

  • anon

    Did he not workout before the combine — what’s with that bench? Surprised his arm length is so poor comparatively.

  • Jim

    I’d pass on Barr. Dion Jordan’s trade value is likely to come down if the Eagles wait until the preseason. Miami has a new coaching staff and Jordan may not start over Vernon and Wake. I’d rather draft Ronald Powell out of Florida in the 5th round and continue to monitor the Jordan situation. They may be able to get him for mid round pick either during the season or after it.

    • JofreyRice

      I dunno, Wake’s older than Cole. A bird in the hand, and all that.

  • Ray888

    For the “team” concept, I’d rather 2 or 3 serviceable B+ players being added rather than 1 A+ player with potential upside. So, either add BPA at 22 or trade down and get more picks.

  • Will

    Id settle for Telvin Smith in the 2nd

    • cliff henny

      220 pound LBs, not on Kelly’s watch. he’s coming in for visit, I read on twitter. should take 30 seconds. say hello, have pleasant convo on way to training room, put him on scale, see 220, ask if he’s changed his mind about playing safety.

      • JofreyRice

        Right, and he’s not looking to transition into a SS role, like Kam Chancellor. I think that will limit him to being a sub-package player like Wesley Woodyard. If you put an NFL hat on him in the box, he’s not getting off that block.

      • travis papa

        Quit talking like he has the option to say no that causes whispers of him not being a team player and a cancer and that kills your career quicker than being an undersized LB. If he enthusiastically tries to convert and fails miserably you say ok put on 15-20 lbs and we will try you at ILB because your a team player. Play it to him this way do you want 25% of the snaps in sub/nickel packages or 100% at safety and paid like a star on your 2nd contract

      • Will

        Didn’t know the kid was that small

  • Andy124

    What if Anthony Barr slips? Get him some longer cleats.

  • NickS1

    As Dr. Dre said, “If I slip, then I’m slippin’”

    • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

      But if I got my nina then you know Im straight trippin!!! ……..Get it? nina? 9? NICC FOLES? AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joe Thomas

    I wouldnt be surprised if they pull the trigger on the Jordan trade if they want to go defense and they aren’t in love with any available at that pick.

  • HowieGambleChipsAllDay

    Barr’s poor performance in the BenchPress is disappointing. However, looking back at Trent Cole, I believe he was around 230lbs coming out of college. Today he plays around 270. The level of training and nutrition any of these kids will get at this level is astounding, especially in this program. As long as they have the frame and the will they can make big strides as they mature toward their primes.

    • Jerry Pomroy

      265-270 is probably where Barr should be playing at in NFL. That extra 10-15lbs up top would go a long way in improving his upper body strength in taking on blockers head-on.