On Thursday night, the Minnesota Vikings selected Anthony Barr out of UCLA with the nine overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Minnesota previously sat at the eighth spot but switched spots with the Cleveland Browns and moved down while also acquiring Cleveland’s fifth round-pick (145) as well. The Browns made a bit of a shocking selection and took Oklahoma State cornerback Justin Gilbert.
Heading into Thursday night, the Vikings’ three greatest needs were at the linebacker, defensive back and quarterback position. In the thousands of mock drafts, few (if any, honestly) had Barr going to Minnesota. Some experts had the Vikings taking Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, as well as Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Barr is a 6’5, 255 pound athletic linebacker that use to play running back in high school. Before this year’s college football season, Barr was considered a top-five pick but slipped with standout seasons from Buffalo linebacker Khalil Mack and Mosley. His value looked as if it were going to take a hit, but the Vikings and Mike Zimmer decided to make a move on him instead. In our APC mock, we had Barr going 15 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Overall, Barr’s athleticism is something Zimmer will love in Minnesota. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can see Barr being the type of player Michael Johnson was in Cincinnati in his defense. General manager Rick Spielman said he sees Barr as a Sam linebacker, and can use him blitz situations to create mismatches against running backs. At this point, everything regarding Barr’s role on defense for Minnesota will be up to Zimmer, though.
With Manziel still on the board, I’m a little surprised Minnesota didn’t take a quarterback, but like teams such as the Browns and Raiders, they can still find a starter at a later time. Barr fills a positional need for their roster, but he is a reach being selected at nine.
What do you think of division-foe Minnesota selecting Anthony Barr in the top-10? Let us know in the comments below and let’s keep the draft conversation going.