Monday, April 21, 2014
UCLA LB Anthony Barr visiting Steelers
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- The Steelers are meeting with a pair of defensive players Monday, including a potential first-round pick.
UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr and Wisconsin defensive tackle Beau Allen are the Steelers' latest visitors as the team prepares for the upcoming draft.
Barr is considered one of the best pass-rushers in the draft while Allen is a projected late-round pick after moving to nose tackle last season when Wisconsin switched to a 3-4 scheme.
Barr is an intriguing prospect because of his production at UCLA -- the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder recorded 10 sacks last season -- and his upside as a pass-rusher. Barr played fullback for two seasons before moving to defense, and he is still learning on that side of the ball.
ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Barr as the 15th-best player in the draft.
"He has a decent arsenal of moves, using quick feet and hands to free himself, and he's disciplined against the run, pursuing with speed when the play runs away from him," Kiper writes of Barr. "I love the effort, and the athleticism, but as a former fullback, he needs to grow in his awareness."
ESPN analyst Todd McShay isn't as high on the former Bruins star. McShay ranks Barr as the 30th-best player in the draft.
The Steelers are unlikely to draft an outside linebacker in the first round since they took one with their first-round pick last year in Jarvis Jones. But they do need to add depth at the position and are expected to draft an outside linebacker prospect at some point.
Allen could be a late-round possibility for the Steelers if they don't take a nose tackle early in the draft. The 6-foot-2, 333-pounder recorded 20 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season for the Badgers but did not get invited to the NFL scouting combine.
Allen tested well at Wisconsin’s pro day though he was limited in running drills because of a hamstring issue.
The Steelers are allowed to host 30 players outside of the Pittsburgh area for pre-draft visits. This is the final week of visits for NFL prospects.