[NOTE FROM ARIF: I’ve asked Darren Page, lead scout at DetroitLionsDraft.com and contributor at the Bleacher Report (and avid Vikings fan) to give us comprehensive breakdowns on the Vikings rookies. He responded with incredible depth and thoroughness. You can follow him @DarrenPage15 for a stream of his football and non-football thoughts.
He and I would like to thank DraftBreakdown.com and acknowledge NFL Game Rewind for providing all the necessary visual data]
With the ninth pick in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Minnesota selected UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr.
Because he’s only played on the defensive side of the ball for two seasons, Barr is one of the most unique prospects in the entire draft class. After struggling to make his mark as a running back through two seasons at UCLA, he made the switch to linebacker with the blessing of new head coach Jim Mora.
Barr took to his new position as a 3-4 rush linebacker immediately. In a renaissance season for UCLA in 2012, Barr totaled 83 tackles, 21.5 tackles for loss, and 13.5 sacks.
His statistical outputs experience a slight dip in 2013. He received far more attention from opposing offenses but was still productive. 66 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks is nothing to scoff at. Barr also forced six fumbles in 2013.
The way he developed into his role so quickly should speak to his ability to take to coaching. Everything about what he’d been taught in football had gone out the window, and he applied his athleticism to a new position in a hurry.
Anthony Barr’s athletic traits are the most appealing part of his game. That’s why he got drafted where he did. Let’s take a look at how his athletic ability plays into his game and where he still comes up short.