Craig: Superlatives roll about LB Barr's natural talents

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2014 - 10:47 AM

Within an hour of drafting UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr ninth overall, the Vikings mentioned him in the same sentences with Jason Taylor, Chris Doleman and Von Miller.

For those keeping score, that’s a future Hall of Famer, a current Hall of Famer and the 2011 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

That’s the kind of ceiling placed on a guy when he’s 6-5, 255 pounds, runs a 4.47 40-yard dash and completes the three-cone agility drill faster than any of the cornerbacks at the scouting combine in Indianapolis.

“You can’t coach what this guy has,” Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said. “It’s the same conversation we had last year with Cordarrelle Patterson.”

Oh yeah, did we mention they also compared him to last year’s raw athlete-turned-rookie-All-Pro-kick-returner?

Unlike former offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who didn’t utilize Patterson until the Vikings season was kaput, Spielman sounds confident that head coach/defensive mastermind Mike Zimmer will maximize Barr’s rare abilities. The new coach sounded like the wheels in his head started turning long ago.

“I’ve never had a linebacker that has the size and the speed and all the things this guy has,” said Zimmer, who spent 20 seasons as an NFL defensive assistant, including the past 14 as a coordinator of multiple top-10 defenses.

Although Barr has played linebacker for only two seasons, he’ll start at strong-side linebacker in a role Zimmer said compares to Miller’s role in Denver. Chad Greenway will be on the field with Barr, but Zimmer wouldn’t elaborate on where or how he’ll be used.

“Chad can play anywhere,” Zimmer said. “But I don’t want to let Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit know what we’re doing. I’m going to let them try to figure that out.”

Now, here are the knee-jerk reactions from Thursday night’s top-10 picks. We’ll revisit these a week before next year’s draft (ouch):

1. Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina

Knee-jerk: Yeah, he’s a once-in-a-generation physical freak. But does he want to do all it takes to be great? Based on last fall, it doesn’t appear he does. Houston, you have a problem player.

2. Rams: Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn

Knee-jerk: Had Jake Matthews going here in Thursday’s mock, but this will be a better offensive tackle selection. This kid and those 35-inch arms and giant frame will dominate.

3. Jaguars: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida

Knee-jerk: The first wow moment of a wow round. And we thought the Jaguars reached too high for Blaine Gabbert at No. 10 three years ago. Can you really redshirt a raw player when you pick him No. 3? Expectations just became too unrealistic for Bortles.

4. Bills (trade with Browns): Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson

Knee-jerk: Special size and speed will make him the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and Buffalo’s No. 1 receiver.

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Houston 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 63 3rd Qtr 7:39
Cleveland 62
New Orleans 56 3rd Qtr 9:01
Washington 31
Milwaukee 45 2nd Qtr 6:05
New York 42
Philadelphia 33 2nd Qtr 4:45
Brooklyn 40
Charlotte 33 2nd Qtr 4:40
Atlanta 46
Sacramento 7:30 PM
San Antonio
Memphis 7:30 PM
Dallas
Tampa Bay 8:30 PM
Edmonton
Arkansas State 10/21/14 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Ottawa 6 FINAL
Hamilton 16
Montreal 20 FINAL
Toronto 12
Calgary 33 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Edmonton 24 FINAL
Saskatchewan 19
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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