UCLA's Anthony Barr is the classic boom or bust pass rusher in the NFL Draft. His athleticism is off the charts, he was productive on the stat sheet for the Bruins, but overall watching the film he still has a lot of head scratching situations.
The 6'5", 255 pound pass rusher is built like how the NFL likes him. He's got room on his frame to add bulk and strength, has long arms (33 1/2") and is a natural bender and flexible pass rusher. He played outside linebacker in UCLA's defense, so if a team picks him as a 4-3 end, there is going to be an adjustment period.
Where Anthony Barr Wins
Barr wins with his first step and explosions on most of his pass rushing attempts, at least when he's allowed to speed rush the quarterback. Often you see Barr try to run through the offensive tackle or tight end, presumably because of the UCLA scheme in facing a ton of mobile quarterbacks. SB Nation's Stephen White notes this multiple times in his valuation of Barr.
When Barr pins his ears back and uses his hands in combination with his speed rush, he can make a lot of offensive tackles look silly. The problem is this doesn't happen enough and the end result is he'll dominate a handful of plays in a game and get dominated in another handful of plays. He'll need to work on consistency at the next level.
Barr also has a high motor that's always running. He chases down back-side plays routinely, makes tackles down field and is willing in run support. His functional strength will need to be increased at the next level, but because of how he works it should be something he can reach and improve.
Where Anthony Barr Needs To Improve
The biggest flaw in Barr's game is consistency. He shows the ability on film to be a dominant pass rusher, but it doesn't show up on every play. That's not to say you should expect Barr to whip an offensive tackle on every rush attempt, but you'd like it to go from two to three plays a game to a play every defensive series or so.
Barr's functional strength just isn't there yet, but that's not necessarily a fatal flaw. He uses his hands well at times, but he can still struggle to disengage if an offensive lineman or tight end. Part of this is he's still learning to play defense, as he was originally a fullback for UCLA, but part of it is just raw strength. It will be an adjustment, but it may serve Barr better to play with his hand on the ground to work through some of the intricacies rushing the passer.
He also doesn't translate speed-to-power well just yet, but again some of this is technique he's still learning and some of it is still learning to play defense and not simply rely on his athleticism.
Barr is a pass rusher who fits the Jaguars defensive scheme and as a rookie could be used in the same vein Bruce Irvin was for Seattle, as both a LEO pass rush and a linebacker. He's adequate in coverage and against the run, but when he's unleashed as a speed rusher he can bend the edge as well as anyone.
Grade: 7.75, top 10 pick