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2014 NFL draft: S&BP staff take on Anthony Barr

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In our final player breakdown, our staff looks at UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr and asks the question: is he a good fit at No. 5?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

As one of the quickest rising prospects of 2013, Anthony Barr from UCLA is an interesting player amidst the discussion for the top of the draft. While most experts have Barr outside the top tier of players, with the renewed emphasis on pass rushers around the league, some think Barr could sneak into the top five.

At 6'4" and 250 pounds, Barr has the body of the new age defensive end — long and lean — but with enough power to be productive at the professional level. The question for many about Barr is whether he has the strength and athleticism needed to be in the conversation with a guy like Jadaveon Clowney.

So what do our staff writers have to say? Well, for the first time all series, we actually have consensus:

Jeff Spiegel (@JeffSpiegel) — Don't draft him

Nothing personal here with Barr, I just think he's a reach at No. 5. In reality, Barr would fill a major need for Oakland and I think he'll have an excellent career at the professional level, I just think drafting the best player available would disqualify Oakland from considering Barr.

What's interesting about this draft is that I compare Barr to Dion Jordan, the defensive end from Oregon drafted third overall last season by Miami. While Barr is a bit shorter and a bit more polished, I think both embody the direction many teams want to see their pass rushers heading. Ultimately, I think this is a testimony to just how deep this draft is — that a player picked third overall last season would find himself outside of the top five this season.

RDreamer (@RaiderDamus) — Don't draft him

Barr is a good player and a natural pass rusher, but his relative inexperience at linebacker and lack of instincts at the position make his bust potential pretty high. He isn't better than average against the run or in coverage and the Raiders need a guy there who is good at all three phases of linebacker play. While he may end up as one of the better pass rushers in this draft, he could also end up as a situational pass rusher and a guy who is making way too much money for his production.

Barr's talent isn't in question. Since being converted to linebacker from fullback after a subpar freshman year, he has terrorized PAC-12 offenses and has shown the ability to get to the quarterback against virtually any team. It's his completeness as a prospect that troubles me, and I don't think he is a fit for the Raiders at this juncture. A few years down the road when the Raiders have a solid defensive line and secondary, they can take a chance on a guy like Barr with one single skill that is off the charts. Until then, they need to stick with somewhat safer picks. Trading down for Barr isn't really an option, because Barr will be taken too high to get any value for his pick.

Marcus Allen Krause — Don't draft him

Anthony Barr is a hell of a player in his own right, but he simply isn't better than Khalil Mack or Jadeveon Clowney on paper, and he isn't at a position of need like QB. Those two factors weigh heavily against Barr as the Raiders pick, and unless he is drafted after trading back then I don't see it happening.

Clowney is a freak and Mack outperformed Barr in almost every aspect of the combine. The one thing in Barr's favor compared to Mack is that he played at a bigger school — but that only goes so far. It is just hard to imagine a scenario where Barr will be the No. 5 pick.

He is a tall guy at 6'4 but he is a little light in frame with weighing only 247 LBs. He is athletic enough to play LB but it'd be very difficult for him to line up as a DE with that type of body. The Raiders don't need a straight up OLB, they need a guy capable of playing DE or OLB depending on the situation.

As good as Barr is the Raiders should pass, he just doesn't fit enough of a need and he wouldn't be the best player available at the 5th pick. If the Raiders trade back, then Barr would become a better option but as far as staying put and drafting him I just don't see it.

Levi Damien (@LeviDamien) — Don't draft him

At least not at the five pick.

While Barr is an outstanding pass rusher and a viable top ten pick, he is considered the third best pass rusher in this draft and is more suited for 3-4 outside linebacker than he is defensive end — which is where the Raiders are sorely lacking. At the fifth overall pick, taking Barr here could be a reach. Most likely, either Jadeveon Clowney or Kahlil Mack will still be on the board — either of whom are better choices than Barr. Not much more to say about that.