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Minnesota Vikings draft analysis: Anthony Barr

The Minnesota Vikings selected Anthony Barr with the ninth pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Anthony Barr with the ninth pick of the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Position: Outside Linebacker

Number: 55

College: UCLA

Height: 6-5

Weight: 255

2014 Statistics: 65 total tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 10 sacks, one pass breakup, one pass defensed, two quarterback hurries, four fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles

My analysis: He is extremely quick and athletic. There is no doubt about his ability to get around the edge. One thing the does that cannot be overlooked is the way he punishes quarterbacks. When he gets the chance, he drives opposing quarterbacks to the turf. He did not play in coverage very often, but showed he can close on running backs out of the backfield and limit the yards after catch. He needs to learn the nuances of playing defense at the highest level. He is raw - having only played on the defensive side of the ball for two seasons. He needs to learn how to disengage from blockers in more ways than just using his athleticism.

NFL.com’s Nolan Nawrocki’s bottom line: A highly disruptive, athletic specimen with a pass-rush potential to effortlessly emerge as a double-digit sack producer. Is far from a finished product and his best football is still ahead of him, yet he plays the game with more of an offensive temperament and could require some patience. Is the type of rare athlete that could even contribute as an offensive playmaker once he learns to grasp defensive concepts and the game slows down for him.

The skinny: According to Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com, the team’s official website, Barr “should have a profound impact for the Vikings defense from Day 1.” As a top 10 pick, he should enter training camp as a starter. However, given his limited experience on the defensive side of the ball and unrefined skill set, the Vikings may benefit from easing him into the starting lineup. The biggest question surrounding him is whether he can become something more than just a pass rusher. He may be the biggest risk/reward of any draft pick in 2014.