Anthony Barr Scouting Report

March 20th, 2014


Prospect: Anthony Barr, DE/OLB, UCLA
Height: 6’4.75”
Weight: 255
Grade: 7.35 (Grading Scale)


Scouting Report:

Strengths: Outstanding closing burst to the ball…cat-like quickness in space, incredibly light on his feet and balanced in space…great speed and has a chase gear…already has developed a nasty shoulder dip move around the edge, and he can flatten to the QB out of it nicely…his 1-2-3 steps from a 2-pt. stance are elite…drops quickly and naturally in coverage, gets good depth and shows fluidity…showed quick development of recognition in zone coverage…demonstrated some ability to set and hold the edge vs. the run (see Oregon notes)…has experience playing in a variety of alignments as a SAM backer, Wide 9 DE, 3-4 OLB, and even 6-tech DE with a 3-man line…twists and stunts inside too fast for the line to react at times…gets his hands into passing lanes when he sees he’s not going to get to the QB…has a good understanding of what he needs to improve and has shown coachability…willing to take out the block to let a teammate make a play, not afraid to take on the double team…no character issues, well-liked and engaging personality…has the “wow” factor that cannot be taught or coached.

Weaknesses: Very raw technique…has little to no concept of how to use his hands and often fails to use them at all…struggles to shed blocks, has no real countermeasures to get free other than trying to bull through it…overpursues and abandons contain edge contain as a rusher too frequently…doesn’t always close on the ball under control, will miss plays because he cannot gather himself to the point of attack…exposes his chest and gets too upright and square to the blockers, esp. when lined up on the line of scrimmage…doesn’t have much of a pass rush arsenal other than a shoulder dip and inside spin move…lacks an instinctive nose for the ball vs. the run…has negligible anchor strength, was repeatedly moved by tight ends…fluctuating weight, has been as high as 255 and as low as 240 within the last 12 months; was 255 at Combine and 248 two weeks later at UCLA pro day…tries for the big play when the better option would be the safer play, though that improved over time…still learning how to read offensive schemes and decipher different blocking concepts.

Overall: When evaluating Anthony Barr, it’s important to note that he has just two years of playing defense. He’s a converted running back who quickly bulked up without losing his speed or burst. As is to be expected with a player making a dramatic position change, he sorely needs technical refinement. Right now he gets by on his outstanding athleticism and a few established crutches.

His hand usage and overall defensive recognition need tons of development, as his eyes are not yet attuned to playing defense. Yet throughout the course of his Bruins career, he did demonstrate improvement. He’s better in space than expected, and has enough speed and recognizance to handle himself in zone drops right away. Still, he’s at least a full season and offseason away from being able to stay on the field in all situations.

But the team drafting Barr will do so because of his ability to crash the backfield and rush the passer. His ability to gain the edge off the snap and subsequently flatten to the QB (or RB with the ball) is as dynamic as any player in recent memory; he favorably compares to Von Miller in that aspect. Miller is an interesting comparison because many believed he was strictly a 3-4 OLB just as Barr has been oft labeled. Just as Miller has proven that to be rash and incorrect, Barr has that potential too. His ceiling is just as high as Miller’s, or Robert Quinn’s as a pass rusher. His more natural movement and feel in space offer even more as an all-around linebacker…but that day is in the future, and is far from guaranteed.

While he has the chance to be a perennial double-digit sack artist and All-Pro caliber talent, there is also a fairly significant bust factor. The team drafting him will need to be supportive and patient as he will make plenty of mistakes and struggle at everything that isn’t rushing the passer. Worthy of his certain top-15 status, but the pick will look better in 2016 than it does in ’14.—Jeff Risdon


Scouting Notes

UCLA vs. Stanford
–gets locked down by the TE on an inside run, turned outside and could do nothing to shed

–lined up at Wide 9, flies into QBs face and forces an errant shovel pass

–explodes into backfield but opts to just slam a shoulder into the lead blocker, doesn’t try to get away or chase the ball

–matadors Hogan on a designed misdirection QB cutback, but gathers himself quickly and chases him down for a short gain

–picks up receiver on shallow cross & carries him nicely across the middle, sees the QB scramble back from where he came and chases him down just shy of the 1st down

–lined up Wide 9, gets engulfed by TE and walked backwards, no hand action to try and free himself

–Blows up an end around, it’s better to just watch (sorry it’s sideways!)…


–worth noting his one play all game where he successfully took on a block and still got involved in the play, didn’t disengage but steered the block into the hole and forced a tackle


UCLA vs. Nevada
–feels the TE cut block but takes him time to gather himself after dodging it

–nice twist inside, splits the interior double team and pressures a rolling Fajardo

–initially misses the RB right at handoff point (couldn’t stop momentum) but quickly balances and wraps him up for short gain

–tries an arm bar move but fires it out too early and misses, easily nullified

–excellent recognition in zone drop, stays balanced and low in stance as he shadows receiver

–lined up over slot, quickly identifies the run but doesn’t feel the peel block from the slot WR, gets turned inside on bad angle

–very lithe and quick in zone drop, shows very quick feet and fluid hips

–Wide 9, gets into Bitonio’s pads and pushes back, pressures Fajardo inside

–loses edge contain on designed QB misdirection run, gives up huge gain

–Bitonio gets both hands into his chest and drives him several yards off the line, Barr never tries to use his hands to get free

–knifes inside the zone block and stays under control as the RB tries to juke, wraps him up for TFL

–gets the advantage with an inside shoulder dip and skies to try and block a pressured throw

–tries to bull Bitonio, cannot make the tackle move at all

–from Wide 9, sells the inside move nicely and quickly spins free to the outside, wraps up the RB for a TFL


Oregon vs. UCLA

–spends the first few plays standing up at 6-tech in 3-man line to counter spread

–flies around the edge for a strip sack

–superfluous spin move accomplishes nothing, does react quickly to the screen behind him and shows good hustle to help chase it down

–nicely sets the edge as 3-man DE, turns the play back inside to his help. Watch it here:

–from Wide 9, tries a quick inside spin but can’t beat the block, spins back outside and gets taken out of the play

–holds the edge as OLB flanking 2-man line, forces DAT inside to the waiting tacklers

–shoulder dip move around the outside beats the tackle, gets held and dragged down to draw the holding penalty

–double teamed right off the snap, smartly steps back and doesn’t let them engage, outflanks them to attack Mariota rolling right at him. Loses helmet after TFL, great play

–on 3rd & short he attacks the B-gap and forces the runner to bounce cut right to another tackler, forces the 4th down

–pounces on fumbled snap in red zone

Other games reviewed: Nebraska, USC, USC ’12, Washington

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3 Responses to “Anthony Barr Scouting Report”

  1. The Strategy Expert says:

    I wanted Chad Greenway in the spot that we drafted Ernie Sims if we were going to go with a LB, and he was similar to Barr in that he had a lot of exciting attributes and we were not able to attune him to the game resulting in a bust. Sims was lost for his entire career with us and it was very harmful to spend a 1st Round pick on a LB that we couldn’t help with the technical or the mental aspects of playing the position. I just don’t want to see a repeat of that so hopefully we have quality coaches that can help young LBers learn how to play the game.

  2. [...] his technique needs serious work, most notably his hand usage. As noted in his scouting report at Detroit Lions Draft, Barr “has little to no concept of how to use his hands and often fails to use them at [...]

  3. [...] technique needs serious work, most notably his hand usage. As noted in his scouting report at Detroit Lions Draft, Barr “has little to no concept of how to use his hands and often fails to use them at [...]

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