Hello BTB! This is my first fanpost in a while. It sure feels good to knock the dust off the old typewriter and share a few opinions with my fellow BTB'ers!
There seems to be a growing trend amongst BTB'ers that Anthony Barr is worth a trade up, and should be considered a target player in this upcoming first-round. This is a sentiment that slightly concerns me! If I were an NFL GM, I would need to check three boxes before trading up in the first round of the draft:
1. I am getting a great player
2. I am getting him at an important position
3. I am paying a reasonable price.
I honestly do not feel that an Anthony Barr trade will meet these criteria. Below I explain why.
Criteria 1: A Great Player
Let's start with the obvious; Barr is an exciting edge rusher who has a lot of athleticism. He is top end in terms of in line speed, short area quickness, and acceleration. He is a natural open field athlete who closes quickly and moves fluidly. However, for all his athletic prowess, Barr struggles if he does not simply beat a tackle off of the line. He lacks a diverse set of passrushing moves, and does not seem to be adept at getting off of blocks. Whether it is a lack of strength, effort, or moves (game tape suggests mixed amounts of all three), he does not appear to be good at winning the so called phone-booth scenarios that great defensive lineman should dominate. This deficiency can be seen in his run defense, where Barr can be moved by larger linemen. My guess is that Barr, who is a bit undersized for a 43 DE (under 250ish at his pro day), would be well served in adding upper body strength so that NFL tackles do not push him off of the line easily . The worry here is that additional weight would sap away at his explosiveness, which is his defining attribute. In the end, Barr can be a great player, but alot has to go right. He needs to be significantly stronger, and become alot more refined and diverse to be a successful 43 DE. Hence, whether he meets the first criteria or not is a bit hazy.
Criteria 2: Important Position
In terms of positional importance, the defensive line is second only to QB. Having the right big guys upfront will determine the success or failure of a defense. We know this from last year. So, as a 43 DE, Anthony Barr will theoretically fill a huge positional need. However, Barr is not an every down DE at this stage. As discussed earlier, Barr has serious gaps in his game that would be undoubtedly exploited during early downs. Barr has to get alot better against the run (particularly by being bigger, stronger, and having better recognition skills) to warrant being a 3-Down defensive end. With that being said, if the coaching staff feels confident that they can develop those attributes in Barr, then he is a 3 Down DE. Now, the retort to not being a 3-down DE would be to have Barr fill the LEO role, and stand up on early downs (see Chris Clemons in SEA or Von Miller in DEN or prospect Khalil Mack). However, Barr is completely green in coverage, and would need to develop 43 OLB quality recognition skills to be worth the playing time as an early down LB. Assuming Barr is already a good situational passrusher, he still needs to develop into a much better all around defender to be an every down starter. Whether he fills the second criteria is unclear.
Criteria 3: Right Price
Honestly, this one is all speculation, and only matters situationally. It will come down to questions like- Is Barr a third round pick better than Kony Ealy? Is Barr a fourth round pick better than Zach Martin? Do we want Barr or Clinton-Dix and Kelcy Quarles? I would have a hard time favoring Barr in each scenario. We can only answer this one on draft day.
I understand the upside, but Barr just gives me too much hesitation to warrant a trade up. I think he will be atleast a good NFL passrusher, and would be willing to take him at 16 if better DL/OL help isn't available. I would be very happy to trade down and snatch him in the late 17-25 area.
What are your thoughts? Does Barr meet these criteria? Did I miss something about his game? Is he worth a trade up in your opinion?