Wake-Up Call: Notes On Barr, OLB Prospects

Linebackers took center stage along with defensive linemen at the combine Monday. Some notes to pass along:

— Could the Eagles be within striking distance of UCLA’s Anthony Barr on draft day? Mike Mayock, for one, doesn’t believe Barr is a top-10 player.

UCLA’s Anthony Barr is Mayock’s No. 3 linebacker, but Mayock doesn’t think Barr is a top-10 pick. While Barr is a good pass rusher, Mayock said that “when he doesn’t win with speed,” he has issues. Mayock also said Barr is best against the run as a chaser: “He’s not real strong at the point of attack.”

Some pundits disagree. Mel Kiper, as an example, has Barr going sixth overall.

The 6-4, 255-pounder out of UCLA recorded 23.5 sacks and 41.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons while playing outside linebacker. This after starting his college career on the offensive side of the ball as a running back and wide receiver. He estimated that he dropped into coverage about 30 percent of the time last season, and said he fared pretty well. Rushing the passer, though, is his primary objective.

Von Miller, Aldon Smith, Clay Matthews, DeMarcus Ware, guys like that,” said Barr on the NFL players he looks up to. “One day I’d like to be named with those guys.”

Hard to imagine Barr floating down to 22, but could he drop low enough to entice the Eagles to move up? The San Pedro, CA native ran a 4.66 40 on Monday.

— Stanford defensive end/outside linebacker Trent Murphy ran a 4.86-40. Sheil wrote about Murphy at the Senior Bowl. He played stand-up linebacker at Stanford and led the nation with 15 sacks. His measurables (6-5, 251, 11-plus inch hands) surely haven’t’ slipped past Chip Kelly, who got an up-close look at Murphy while at Oregon. (He had two sacks and two tackles for a loss against the Ducks in 2012.) Murphy posted 32.5 sacks and 52.5 tackles for a loss on the collegiate level.

“I’ve gotten a lot of interest from both 3-4 and 4-3 teams. A lot of teams are looking at me at that outside linebacker position,” he said. “I think it’s really on the edge, whether it’s as a defensive end or standup outside linebacker. I just like to be on that edge of the defense, on that angle, and I like to get after the passer rushing.”

CBS Sports projects that Murphy will be taken in the second round.

— Mayock mentioned Auburn’s Dee Ford as a possible pass-rushing solution for the Eagles at 22 pre-combine.  Ford did not participate in the workouts this week, however, because of a medical problem related to surgery he had on a herniated disc back in 2011, per NFL.com.  

“I feel fine. Everything is fine. It’s what they call a medical precaution that they wanted to go through, and they don’t want to risk anything here,” said Ford. “So I had the medical exclusion. It’s very unfortunate. I’m very disappointed. I came to really compete in this combine but, you know, it’s all good. I’m still going to stay here and support my peers.”.


Mayock thinks Missouri DE Kony Ealy could go between 20-23. Is he a fit in Philly?

Sheil uses the All-22 to analyze free agent safety Mike Mitchell.

Three notes on the receivers at the combine with an Eagles slant, courtesy of Mr. Kapadia.


The Eagles met with Johnny Manziel at the combine, according to Peter King. Manziel also reportedly sat down with Houston, Jacksonville,  Cleveland, Dallas, Tampa Bay and maybe Oakland. Five of those six teams are picking in the top 10. Phil Sheridan offers his thoughts.

The Cowboys at 17 and the Eagles at 22 are jarringly out of place in that company.

That can mean one of two things as far as the Eagles are concerned: Either they believe Manziel could drop far enough on draft day to be an option for them, or they are contemplating a blockbuster deal to move up in the draft to have a shot at him.

Domo writes about the Eagles’ best player available approach that appears to be serving them well.

Last year, if the Eagles had an edge-rusher or safety rated as highly on their board at 35 as they did Ertz, they probably would have taken the edge-rusher or safety, because those were greater needs.

But Ertz’ grade was much higher than anyone else on their board at that point. Same thing with their decision to take quarterback Matt Barkley in the fourth round with the 98th overall pick. They had a top-50 grade on him.

“When you look at your team and try to look out 3-4 years, it becomes increasingly difficult to see who’s going to be on your team,” Roseman said. “I mean, this is such a fluid game. Rosters turn over 15-20 percent in a normal offseason. To sit there and be really confident in what you’re going to have as you go forward, it’s hard.


Free agency is fast approaching. We’ll continue to get you ready.