Anthony Barr is regarded as a versatile NFL draft prospect as a 6-foot-5, 255-pound linebacker who can rush the passer, play in space, and find a home in either a 4-3 or a 3-4 defensive scheme. But according to Barr, based on a visit with the Dallas Cowboys and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, that versatility might be stretched even farther.
Marinelli, Barr said, believes he could play defensive end on a 4-3 team.
"I spoke with him at length today. He showed me a lot of tape of (Julius) Peppers and Simeon Rice and (Warren) Sapp, so I think he wants me playing that defensive right end position to go after the quarterback, and that's something I'm all for," Barr said, according to dallascowboys.com.
Presumably, Barr would have to add significant weight to do so. While 4-3 defensive ends aren't typically as big as those playing in a 3-4, they are nonetheless significantly heavier than 255, and need to be to handle run responsibilities. But at 6-5, Barr would figure to have the frame needed to add some weight without sacrificing too much in the way of athleticism. His college coach, Jim Mora, told College Football 24/7 much the same earlier this week.
"For a 3-4 team, he's definitely an outside linebacker," Mora said. "I do think he could weigh 260 pounds and maintain his speed and quickness, to play defensive end for a 4-3 team. He was our right end in nickel. He didn't feel comfortable going down (with a hand in the ground) and just rushed from a two-point (stance). He'll get better at that."
Whether he'll be available to Marinelli and the Cowboys with the No. 16 overall pick is another matter, entirely. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah projects Barr to the Cowboys in his latest mock draft, although analysts Bucky Brooks and Charles Davis project Barr to be gone by that point.
A lot could depend on whether Barr is chosen ahead of or behind Alabama's C.J. Mosley. While Buffalo's Khalil Mack is expected to be the first linebacker drafted and potentially a top-five pick, opinions are split on whether Barr or Mosley will be next to fall at the position.
If Dallas likes Barr, Mosley following Mack as the second linebacker chosen could help Barr slip to the Cowboys.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.