Vikings Draft Targets: Anthony Barr Out of the Picture?


Dec 31, 2013; El Paso, TX, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Anthony Barr (11) walks off the field after winning the 2013 Sun Bowl at Sun Bowl Stadium. UCLA defeated Virginia Tech 42-12. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

As the endless shuffling of big boards continues, one big-name prospect increasingly finds himself in the discard pile, at least as far as the top 10 goes.

Once upon a time Anthony Barr looked like a lock to go in the first third of the first round, but with each passing day more draft experts are finding more reasons to question the UCLA edge rusher’s value.

Todd McShay is the latest insider to downgrade Barr, dropping him all the way to 28 on his prospect rundown. McShay cites both combine performance and tape to make his case for dropping Barr.

“He was just OK in the jumps that measure lower-half explosiveness, which matches up with the biggest issue I see from him on tape,” McShay explains in an ESPN Insider piece. “He hasn’t shown a lot of explosiveness or finishing ability.”

McShay says he still sees upside in Barr, but clearly the explosiveness issue concerns McShay and other evaluators.

In recent weeks, other edge players have surpassed Barr as objects of draft scout infatuation, and now look like much better targets for the Vikings with their #8 overall pick.

Buffalo’s Khalil Mack has risen in recent weeks to become a solid top 10 prospect, thanks to his combination of speed, power and hand action. Missouri’s Kony Ealy has also moved up thanks in part to a strong combine showing.

Mack is an intriguing prospect for a variety of reasons. The linebacker is often pegged as a 3-4 type but some evaluators see him as having 4-3 DE potential. He could also make a good Sam linebacker, in the opinion of some.

Ealy is another prospect with an interesting, versatile skill set. Scouts see him as a “hybrid” type edge player (Michael Johnson-like?) who can both rush the passer and drop in coverage, making him valuable in a variety of different schemes.

It’s still very early in the process, but Barr appears to have fallen behind both Mack and Ealy in the big board shuffle. This will no doubt be reflected in mock drafts as more would-be experts get hip to McShay and others’ evaluations.

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