ESPN’s Mel Kiper conceded that Barr “was not who you thought he was” when he broke down his game film. His colleague, Todd McShay, had been beating that drum for a few months and Kiper has begrudgingly come to agree with that assessment.
Kiper had the following to say about Barr:
“The bottom line is he has to get better. He’s got to get more instinctive, learn more about being a defensive football player; looks a little lost out there at times, doesn’t play with a defensive mentality, plays like more of an offensive player, which he once was.”
That makes sense, since Barr spent his first two years at UCLA as a running back and fullback. Kiper then claimed Barr shouldn’t go before the late first-round as a developmental player, who will be in need of serious coaching.
In his latest mock draft, McShay was even more down on Barr, dropping him to a second-round pick. McShay previously said, “Any team that spends a top 15 pick on Anthony Barr is going to be very disappointed by what it gets.” He then went on to mention Aaron Maybin while discussing Barr, which was a chilling comparison.
Others have claimed that scouts either love or hate Barr’s potential, there is no middle ground.
Personally, I see Barr as a solid mid first-round pick but think he could wind up being a Pro Bowler with the right coaching. At 6-4 and 255 pounds he can be a good speed-rusher off the edge in a 3-4 immediately. But he does need to get stronger and learn how to properly set the edge against the run. He’s a finesse player right now, which means he’s likely only going to be on the field in passing situations as a rookie.
There is a lot of potential there for Barr, but he’s not on the level of fellow defenders Jadeveon Clowney, or Khalil Mack yet. He’ll need a lot of work at the next level.
As of right now, Barr looks like the guy most likely to suffer a shocking draft day slide.