UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr showed his remarkable combination of size and athleticism Tuesday, clocking in at 4.44 seconds in the 40-yard dash, according to former head coach Jim Mora.
While 40-yard dash times recorded at Pro Days always should be taken with a grain (or mountain) of perspective, Barr's time carries some weight as Mora specifically mentioned that Barr's time was "electronic."
Barr was credited with a 4.66 second time in this event at the Combine, a pretty remarkable achievement in itself considering that he weighed in at 6-foot-5, 255 pounds there.
Mora, who later characterized Barr's 40-yard dash time as a hundredth of a second slower, also noted that Barr improved his bench press from 15 reps in Indianapolis to 19 on Tuesday.
“With Anthony, the ceiling is so high,” Mora told the OC Register. “He's only played the position for two years, and they see the talent. Then, he comes out today and runs a 4.45 at 247 pounds and 6-foot-41/2. Then he goes and benches 19 times, which is a four-rep improvement from two weeks ago. They understand that there's so much room for growth.”
Best of all, Barr's extraordinary athleticism translates very well to the football field.
Barr flashed on the offensive side of the ball over his first two years with the Bruins but exploded onto the national scene when Mora took over and moved him to outside linebacker. Asked to rush off the edge in the Bruins' 3-4 scheme, Barr demonstrated remarkable burst off the ball as well as flexibility and lateral agility to turn the corner and close quickly on the quarterback.
After racking up 13.5 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss as a junior, he added 20 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2013. He earned a cupboard full of awards in the process, including the Lott Impact Trophy, first team Walter Camp All-American and first team All-Pac-12.
Barr doesn't possess quite the freakish athleticism that has helped South Carolina's Jadeveon Clowney rise as the top prospect in the 2014 draft class but he's may possess an even higher upside than Buffalo's Khalil Mack, a dynamic athlete in his own right and a more polished all-around linebacker.
Despite his impressive size, Barr's relative inexperience on the defensive side of the ball is fairly clear on tape. He prefers to run around blockers rather than engage them and can get knocked off the ball. He flashes rather than dominates in terms of his physicality. As former USC quarterback Matt Barkley found out the hard way, Barr gathers speed quickly and can explode into ball-carriers. Barr ended Barkley's collegiate career with a signature sack during UCLA's 38-28 victory that resulted in a shoulder injury for the Trojans' quarterback.
Despite his less-than-ideal physicality, Barr's athleticism potential is staggering and he appeals to proponents of the 3-4 and 4-3 schemes, alike. Barr ranks as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 10 overall prospect and doesn't fall lower than No. 12 overall to the New York Giants in CBSSports.com's collection of mock drafts.
Other Bruins of note also tested well, including another likely first round pick in versatile offensive Xavier Su'a-Filo (who was clocked at 4.88 seconds in the 40-yard dash), as well as pass rusher Cassius Marsh (4.68), linebacker Jordan Zumwalt (4.61) and wide receiver Shaq Evans (4.32).