Posted: 6:00 am Thursday, April 17th, 2014
By D. Orlando Ledbetter
Each morning, from now until the draft starts on May 8, we’ll do a short profile of a player who’s on the Falcons’ Draft Board. We’ll focus on team-needs, possible selections, players the Falcons have worked out and/or interviewed, etc. The Falcons own 10 picks in this draft. Today we’ll look at UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, who’s scheduled to visit Flowery Branch on Tuesday.
Player: Anthony Barr
Position: Outside linebacker
Height and weight: 6-5, 255
Combine numbers: 4.66 seconds in the 40-yard dash (4.41 at Pro Day); 15 reps on the 225-pound bench press (19 at Pro Day); 34 1/2-inch vertical; 9-11 broad jump, 4.19 seconds in the shuttle run and 6.82 in the three-cone drill.
Projected Round: He’s the second-rated outside linebacker in the draft and projected to be selected in the first round by NFLDraftScout.com.
Career Highlights:After former Falcons coach Jim Mora Jr. converted Barr to a linebacker from running back, his career at UCLA took off. He had 13.5 sacks as a junior and returned for his senior season and had 10 sacks.
Quotes: “The transition (from running back to linebacker) was pretty smooth, honestly. (It was) 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. …I’m a pretty aggressive person, especially when it comes to competing. I think (defense) gives me a little outlet. …Shedding blocks, defending the run, using my hands (are things to work on). 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.”
Falcons level on interest: Barr’s ability to rush the passer in intriguing to the Falcons, who’ve struggled in the sack department. They must determine if he’s an “elite” pass rusher. His ability to play in coverage must also be closely assessed. One longtime NFL scout told us that his stock was dropping when his name was mentioned at UGA Pro Day on Wednesday.
FALCONS’ DRAFT BOARD
MEET THE FREE AGENT SIGNEES
2014 NFL DRAFT CENTRAL
–Blog & VIDEO: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd has stellar Pro Day showing
–VIDEO: Clemson WR Sammy Watkins on his Pro Day