READ: What makes Barr a top prospect?
VIDEO: Barr's highlights at UCLA
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As part of our Texans 'On the Clock' draft profiles, we reached out to various media members who covered the featured prospect. In this week's installment we sat down with Bryan Fischer.
Fischer is a college football writer and member of the Football Writers Association of America. He was formerly with the Pac-12 Networks.
HoustonTexans.com: Anthony Barr started his UCLA career on the offensive side of the ball. Can you talk a little bit about how Barr was viewed as a recruit coming into UCLA?
Fischer: As the son of former Notre Dame running back Tony Brooks, Barr was pretty highly recruited by most of the big BCS schools and considered one of the top recruits in the state. He didn't play a ton of linebacker late in his high school career but most considered that to be the best position for him in college despite looking pretty good as a running back. He played high school football with then-UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's son Jerry and primarily committed to the Bruins because they would keep him on offense. A few injuries hampered him his senior season but he was otherwise a great get for UCLA over Notre Dame and others.
HoustonTexans.com: What prompted the move to switch Barr to defense full time in 2012?
Fischer: He was not breaking through on the depth chart as a tailback and with a new staff that features a defensive-minded coach like Jim Mora, Barr asked to switch to linebacker. The Bruins staff was obviously overjoyed and probably were going to strongly encourage him to do so anyway. People had said for years linebacker was the spot for him and it took a while to come around on that but he made the right choice.
HoustonTexans.com: What kind of role defensively did Barr play for the Bruins defense?
Fischer: He does a little bit of everything in their system and really drew a lot of attention from opposing offenses, freeing up other linebackers to make plays when he was double-teamed. He's a very good pass rusher off the edge but also is solid enough to set the edge in the run game -- he excels at shedding blocks. With his speed and length, he can also cover tight ends or wide receivers as well. People will watch him and love everything that he can do because he's so flexible.
HoustonTexans.com: What position do you think he best fits in the NFL?
Fischer: He can play outside linebacker in either the 4-3 or 3-4 at the NFL level but probably is best suited for a hybrid scheme or the 3-4.
HoustonTexans.com: Do you feel his relative newness to playing defense is a negative for him as far as evaluating him for the next level?
Fischer: I don't because he's already a top 10 pick based on his tape and will continue to get better as he gets more reps at the next level. Being out of school and being able to focus on football more will only further his development.
HoustonTexans.com: Is there a player in the NFL past or present that Barr’s skillset reminds you of?
Fischer: I would guess a lot of people will use Clay Matthews and that seems pretty accurate to me. It wouldn't shock me for Barr to have a similar type of role.
HoustonTexans.com: From an athletic perspective, what do you think his biggest strengths are?
Fischer: He's so quick and has burst that you rarely see from linebackers. Pair that with the fact that he's a chiseled 6-foot-4, 250 and you've got yourself a defender who can do just about anything he wants to opponents. I will be curious to see what kind of 40 time he runs at the Combine but he's fast and can cover just about anybody.