The Eagles need a disruptive pass rusher. With limited options in free agency, they may have to look to the draft to find this type of player. One potential option for the Eagles may be UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr.
At 6-5 and 255 pounds, Barr fits the bill for the type of frame the Eagles and Chip Kelly like to see in their defensive players. He also has pretty good speed for his size, recording a 4.66 second 40-yard dash at this year’s NFL Combine. Barr came to UCLA as a running back before making the switch to outside linebacker for his final two seasons.
Given that he has only played on the defensive side of the ball for two seasons, his talents as a pass rusher are pretty raw. He mostly relies on his athletic ability to be effective. His hand work when attempting to get off blocks is weak and he doesn’t have a very large arsenal of pass rushing moves.
When watching him, I didn’t always see the effort out of him that I would have liked to see. At times, he didn’t seem to have interest in chasing down a play or trying to pursue a play that wasn’t in his general direction. Also, I think that he has room for improvement in terms of his tackling.
Check out this video of Barr against Nebraska, via DraftBreakdown.com.
When the Eagles look at Barr, you know they have to be in love with this size and athleticism. He definitely fits the “big people beat up little people” mold. As mentioned, he is new to the position and has the potential to get much better with more time under his belt and stronger coaching. If he can learn some more pass rushing moves and improve upon some of his technique, he could be tough to handle given the natural ability he already has.
In most projections, it seems like the Eagles won’t have a shot at Barr if they stay where they’re currently positioned to draft in the first round (22nd overall). A lot of the experts view Barr as a top 10 or top 15 pick. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I do think he has a high ceiling, but there’s no guarantees that he’ll play up to the potential level that he possesses. I think he’s the type of player that teams will all over their board.
If he does fall down the board, he may be a player the Eagles have a lot of interest in. Again, his frame is exactly what they’re looking for and if they think he has the mindset to be coached up, they may very well be willing to pull the trigger.