The Steelers sat down with a pair of defensive players today, the first of which was UCLA LB Anthony Barr.
Here’s what Scott Brown of ESPN said today about Barr:
Barr is considered one of the best pass-rushers in the draft while Allen is a projected late-round pick after moving to nose tackle last season when Wisconsin switched to a 3-4 scheme.
Barr is an intriguing prospect because of his production at UCLA — the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder recorded 10 sacks last season — and his upside as a pass-rusher. Barr played fullback for two seasons before moving to defense, and he is still learning on that side of the ball.
“He has a decent arsenal of moves, using quick feet and hands to free himself, and he’s disciplined against the run, pursuing with speed when the play runs away from him,” Mel Kiper writes of Barr. “I love the effort, and the athleticism, but as a former fullback, he needs to grow in his awareness.”
ESPN analyst Todd McShay isn’t as high on the former Bruins star. McShay ranks Barr as the 30th-best player in the draft.
Here’s a Player Overview from CBS Sports:
During the recruiting process, the promise to keep Barr as a ballcarrier on offense swayed him to UCLA, but with head coach Jim Mora taking over in 2012 and a crowded backfield, Barr agreed to move to linebacker that spring. To say he flourished at the new position would be a vast understatement.
Barr’s evolution from running back to outside linebacker and a potential top-five selection in the 2014 draft is one of the more extraordinary developments in college football over the past two years.
Powerful and athletic, Barr can be a terror off the edge. After racking up 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss as a junior, he added 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2013. He earned a cupboard full of awards in the process, including the Lott Impact Trophy, first team Walter Camp All-American and first team All-Pac-12.
Scouts feel that Barr is stout enough to handle strong-side duties in the 4-3 alignment but believe his best fit is as a stand-up outside linebacker in the 3-4.
And another scouting report from Walter Football:
Great coaching- that’s the reason why Anthony Barr is a likely top-20 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Two years ago, Barr was an obscure fullback who had a total of 12 receptions across two seasons. When head coach Jim Mora, Jr and his staff was hired to takeover the UCLA program, Barr was moved to outside linebacker and Pac-12 quarterbacks felt the pain.
Much to the delight of Bruins fans, Barr was one of the best nation’s pass-rushers for the past two year. He had a breakout 2012 season and was one of the nation’s leader in sacks. The junior collected 13 sacks, 83 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, five passes batted and four forced fumbles. His sack total was the second largest in the nation behind only Georgia’s Jarvis Jones. Barr was a terror off the edge and ended Matt Barkley’s collegiate career with vicious sack. Barr may have done the most to help himself during the 2012 season of any player in college football.
Barr showed good maturity by returning for his senior season, because he had room to improve before going to the pros. Early in the 2013, Barr helped lead a huge comeback win at Nebraska as he collected forced three fumbles, 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for a loss. He soon stepped up with a big game against Oregon, recording four tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. A week before taking on the Ducks, the senior had eight tackles with a tackle for a loss against Stanford. In his penultimate game for the Bruins, he helped beat rival USC with five tackles, three tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and two sacks. All told in 2013, Barr totaled 65 tackles with 20 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, five forced fumbles and a pass batted.
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