Barr will be a 23-year-old rookie in 2014. He comes from a football family. His father played football for Notre Dame and was a fourth-round draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles. He also had three uncles who played in the NFL. Barr was a big time high school recruit out of Loyola High School in Los Angeles. He missed the majority of his senior year because of an ankle injury, but still was one of the highest rated athletes by Rivals.com. He was recruited by every Pac 12 University as well as schools like Michigan and Florida State. Barr also lettered in track and field in high school.
Originally, was recruited as a running back, where he played for the first two seasons at UCLA. He started seven games in his first two years, but was never a major contributor on offense. Barr was named an Academic All-American as a sophomore. When Jim Mora Jr. was named UCLA’s coach he promptly moved Barr to outside linebacker for the 2012 season, where he became the full-time starter. In 2012 Barr had 14 sacks, 21.5 TFL’s and was named to the All Pac-12 first team defense and was a second team All-American.
Barr turned down the draft as an underclassman and returned to school for his senior year, bypassing being a lock high 1st round pick. He has lived up to the hype early in 2013, and every week is keeping opposing offensive coordinators up late at night.
Barr played his second season as a full-time starter at outside linebacker. He finished the regular season with 60 tackles (20 for loss), 10 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 4 recovered fumbles.
UCLA runs the Pittsburgh Steelers' 3-4 defense and Barr lines up in a three-point stance 100% of the snaps. He plays the same position players such as Greg Lloyd, Joey Porter, and James Harrison have lined up over the years.
Barr has a unique blend of size and speed for the position. He is built like a pro bowl outside linebacker, with excellent muscle definition, thickness, and bulk from head to toe. Has ideal size combined with being an ELITE athlete. He has very good short area burst and explosion, with the top end speed to run down NFL level skill players. A fluid athlete, who has good change of direction in the open field, can redirect and hawk down ball carrier. An excellent example of this is against Nebraska when he breaks up the option in the backfield against Taylor Martinez for a massive loss early in the second quarter. A special player in space.
In the passing game, has a speed rush that gives left tackles fits the entire game. Explodes off the ball, and has the ability to dip his hips and get around the edge. Barr’s closing ability on the QB is special. Does flash some inside counter moves, and works back inside against tackles in space. By no means is Barr a polished pass rusher, but has as many raw tools to work with as anyone in the country. On passing downs, is a player who NFL offensive linemen will struggle with one-on-one.
In the run game, Barr is very powerful at the point of attack. Can strike and jolt pulling offensive guards or fullbacks with his ability to shed and make tackles in space. He has the lateral quickness to play down the line of scrimmage and catch running backs from behind. He must be accounted for on every snap. He plays with a very high motor and refuses to give up on plays regardless where the ball may be. Is always a threat to make the tackle. This is a player who could compete to be the number one overall pick in May. He has as much upside as any player in this year’s draft.
WHAT SCOUTS WANT TO SEE IN 2013: For Barr to continue to add more pass rush moves to his arsenal -- which could potentially make him an elite pass rusher at the NFL level.
-- John Middlekauff, Reese's Senior Bowl West Coast Scout/Correspondent
Nevada, Utah, Nebraska (2013)
UCLA vs USC (2012)