When NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock says the 2014 NFL Draft is one of the deepest positional drafts in the past 10 years, he's not just blowing smoke, folks. If you've spent your fall Saturdays watching college football, you'll surely agree.
Case in point? Some team picking early in the first round will wind up with UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr. He might not go first overall or even be the first linebacker taken this year, but in his mind, the team that picks him will be getting more than just a great player, they'll be getting a perfect one.
"I'm not just going to be a guy rushing the quarterback," Barr told Jim Rome on Thursday. "I can drop, I can play the run, and I can play off the ball, on the ball. I'm a smart football player. I can understand the game, the nuances of the game. All those things combine to make me the perfect prospect."
It's hard to be a "perfect" prospect, but Barr has all the physical skills to develop into a Pro Bowl outside linebacker. While he's not talked about in the same vein as defensive end Jadeveon Clowney or even fellow outside linebacker Khalil Mack, most agree he still has plenty of room to grow after playing the position for just two seasons in college (he began his career at running back).
Add in the bloodlines (his father, Tony Brooks, was a fourth-round pick of the Eagles) and game tape (sorry Matt Barkley) and you can understand why NFL media analysts' mock drafts have him going no later than No. 11 overall to the Titans.
"I didn't perform as well as I wanted to as far as running and doing all the other drills. I kind of felt like I let myself down a little bit," Barr said of his combine showing. "Fortunately, we had pro day and I was able to sanctify myself there."
Like most of the draft's top prospects, where Barr is ultimately picked will depend heavily on how the dominoes fall early in the draft. If the teams drafting in the top that need a quarterback decide to address the position with their top pick, it could push Barr out of the top 10, but he shouldn't fall too far.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.