Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) during the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. UCLA defeated Virginia Tech 42-12. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft: Minnesota Vikings Select LB Anthony Barr

 

There are often two ways to go when selecting players at the top of the draft. You can go with the players who are polished, ready-for-the-NFL prospects, or you can go with the rougher players who have greater upside.

The Vikings with their #9 pick, acquired after a trade with Cleveland to move down one spot, took potential future returns over immediate impact. But may still get plenty of immediate impact.

The Minnesota Vikings have selected UCLA edge player Anthony Barr in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Barr was one of the most-discussed of all the defensive players at the top of this year’s draft. He has the physical tools to be a great player, no question, but can he develop his game enough to fully realize that potential?

That is the big question mark. And there were many who thought that question mark would chase away the Vikings, who need to fill their roster with defensive players who are ready to start right away.

But the upside with Barr may have been too tantalizing for Mike Zimmer to pass up.

Barr gives the Vikings an edge player with great physical ability whom Zimmer can mold and shape into a force.

Barr’s immediate impact will probably be on the line of scrimmage as a pass rusher, but over time he could become an every-down player as a Sam linebacker.

The sky really is the limit for Barr, if he can hone his skills.

If not? Then the Vikings tossed away a #9 overall pick.

That’s the gamble. Rick Spielman thought it was worth it. So he passed on some safer, more pro-ready players. Players like C.J. Mosley and Darqueze Dennard.

Barr could be an impact player for many years to come for Minnesota. That’s the hope, at least.

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