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Debate: Will Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr have bigger impact?

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Khalil Mack went to the University of Buffalo, which played only three top 25 schools the last four seasons. Anthony Barr played in the Pac-12, but only as a linebacker the last two years after spending time at running back as freshman and sophomore at UCLA.

Which pass rusher will ultimately have the bigger impact in the NFL?

  • Daniel Jeremiah
  • Mack's physicality gives him edge

    I like Barr, a player who can finesse his way to the quarterback. But he doesn't bring a lot of power. I want a guy who can have multiple ways to get to the quarterback. Mack has heavy hands as a pass rusher. He can beat you with power up the middle, he can win with speed around the edge and has a nice inside counter. He can also drop back in coverage and is much more physical than Barr as a run defender. I don't worry about the step up in compeptition. Take a look at the Ohio State tape; he was the best player on the field.
  • Charles Davis
  • Barr can be even better with time

    Ah, the small school-large school debate. Just yesterday I was talking about players in this year's draft with a former NFL starter, and he was contrasting Mack's production at Buffalo to Jadeveon Clowney's last season at South Carolina. "Clowney would get 20 sacks in the MAC," he told me. My feeling is that both Mack and Barr will be successful pros. In three seasons, when Barr has added more experience to his playing time on defense, I expect him to really be at the top of his game.
  • Bucky Brooks
  • With higher upside, Barr an easy choice

    I'm a big Anthony Barr fan. Think about what he has been able to accomplish in only two years playing on the defensive side of the ball -- 158 tackles, 41.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. I think he's a natural pass rusher at the next level and will be dominant. You put him as an OLB in a 3-4 defense and let him go. He'll be a double-digit sack artist. Mack is much more NFL-ready at this point, but in three years I don't think it will be even close.
  • Gil Brandt
  • Mack, and it's no contest

    Both players have all the measurables to be successful players in the NFL, but there's no comparison, in my mind, of how they project to the next level. I don't care where Mack played. When you look at the most important characteristics for projecting NFL success for an outside linebacker, Mack is so much further ahead of Barr it's not even funny.
  • Bryan Fischer College Football 24/7
  • Barr's ceiling far higher than Mack's

    As always, it depends on the situation each player winds up in, but I'll lean toward Barr. It's not just the level of competition that factors in, but the fact Barr's ceiling is so much higher. A lot of folks make a big deal about him only playing linebacker for two years, but he nearly matched Mack's four-year sack total and had more than 20 tackles for loss each season. He has the production, the size and the ability to develop into a Pro Bowl player at the next level.
  • Chase Goodbread College Football 24/7
  • Versatility big factor in Mack's favor

    Mack's explosiveness and ability to play in multiple positions and roles will ultimately carry him to a more impactful career. That Mack played for a small school and against lesser competition than Barr is certainly a factor smart NFL clubs will weigh in their evaluations. But if Barr struggles to put heat on the quarterback at the NFL level, it's hard to say exactly how he'll be able to contribute. If Mack isn't an outstanding pass rusher, he can still be an excellent pro.
  • Mike Huguenin College Football 24/7
  • Mack's safer, and already better

    I think Mack is a better player now and will be a better pro. Barr is intriguing because he has played just two seasons of defense and basically has gotten by on his athleticism alone. What happens when he truly understands the nuances of the position? The flip side: What if he never truly gets it? That's why I like Mack better. I think his ceiling is just as high, and his floor definitely is better than Barr's. I think there is some concern about Barr struggling for a while; there is not that concern with Mack.


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