Tennessee Titans: Anthony Barr

Blow up the majority mock.

The Tennessee Titans are not getting UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr with the No. 11 pick in the draft. He just went to Minnesota at No. 9.

The Titans are shifting to a 3-4 front and their pass rush was nothing special a year ago, with interior lineman Jurrell Casey producing the most push and a team-high 10.5 sacks. The edge rush needed upgrading.

With Kamerion Wimbley back at linebacker and Shaun Phillips added, they should be better. Akeem Ayers and Derrick Morgan, moving from end, are also at outside linebacker.

That’s a potentially nice four pack.

But Ayers and Morgan are in contract years while Wimbley will be 31 in October and Phillips will be 33 on Tuesday.
A year ago, Alabama guard Chance Warmack made it clear he wanted to be drafted by the Tennessee Titans and set up shop in Nashville.

And that's just what happened with the 10th pick.

UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr sounded a similar note Wednesday afternoon on The Midday 180 in Nashville on 104.5 The Zone.

[+] EnlargeAnthony Barr
Photo by Diane Bondareff/Invision for SUBWAYDraft prospect Anthony Barr of UCLA unveils a life-size food statue in New York.
If he makes it to 11 and is the Titans' choice, he's all for it. It would put him back working with Lou Spanos, who was his defensive coordinator with the Bruins and is now the Titans' linebacker coach.

"That'd be awesome," he said. "It would be awesome being reunited with coach, I know Akeem Ayers very well, I knew (Alterraun Verner) before he left for Tampa. And it would be a real honor to play for Tennessee."

While Barr has only been on defense for two seasons after starting out as a H-back, he's viewed as an incredible athlete who will be an impact edge rusher in the NFL. But, Barr is a raw player who needs to gain strength, polish his skills and get a better understanding of the position.

He said during those two years he knocked out seven or eight quarterbacks. One of them was former USC QB Matt Barkley, who suffered a broken collarbone. Barr said he's not too concerned if injuries happen to be the result of his work, as it's just part of the game.

"I'm just the ultimate competitor," he said. "I don't want to lose. I want to win at all costs and I just love the game of football. Everything out there up to this point has been based off the game, whether it's consciously or subconsciously, every decision I've made over the past 10 seasons -- what I wear, what I dress, what I eat, where I go, when I go to sleep, when I wake up -- it revolves around the game.

"I respect the game, I respect the process, I'm going to help you win games right away. It's kind of what we are in this business for, what have you done for me lately, and that's what I am all about."

Barr is in New York Wednesday for a Subway promotion -- they built a large bust of him out of vegetables while anointing him one of the restaurant's Famous Fans and encouraging people to "pile on the veggies." He talked with us on the radio just before that event in NYC.

But he won't stay there for the draft, declining an invitation to Radio City and returning to California to be with his family while he awaits his fate.

Some 4-3 teams are considering Barr as an end, and he said whether it's that more dramatic change or simply the shift from college to pro 3-4, nothing is going to be simple about the transition.

"Nothing is going to be easy when I make this jump," he said. "Anywhere I go, any position I play in, any scheme I am in, it's going to be an adjustment, it's going to be real different. It's going to be a challenge. I'm looking forward to that."
The Tennessee Titans are one of the great mysteries of the first half of the first round of the NFL draft.

Picking at No. 11, they aren’t going to address their one clear-cut need -- running back.

They could go virtually any other direction, though three years after spending the No. 8 pick on quarterback Jake Locker, I do not envision them taking a quarterback.

So this week we’ll look at five possibilities for the Titans at No. 11, in no particular order.

UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr

The good: He’s an extremely athletic player with great potential. I’ve heard and read raves about his agility, balance and speed. While the Titans are now reasonably well stocked at outside linebacker for their new defensive front, they can use a young force. He’s connected to Titans linebacker coach Lou Spanos, who was defensive coordinator at UCLA.

The bad: He may not be physically equipped to be an every-down player from the start and will need some time to develop strength. Despite that athleticism, he will enter the league with questions about his abilities as a run defender and dropping into coverage. He has only played defense for a couple years.

Room for him: The Titans have veterans Shaun Phillips and Kamerion Wimbley as pass-rushing outside linebackers in their 3-4 and Derrick Morgan is expected to work as the position as well. Akeem Ayers is in line to be the primary presence on the strong side. So while the Titans could use a young guy and Barr would have potential to be a long-term force, there is not a huge current need. But OLB in a 3-4 is a position where teams like to have significant numbers.

How ESPN.com’s resident scout, Matt Williamson, sees him fitting with the Titans: "Barr has some similarities to Barkevious Mingo, who Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton was associated with this time last year with the Browns. I am not a huge Barr believer and think he is far too much of a finesse player with limited defensive experience, which shows up in his recognition skills presently. But he does have upside, especially as a 3-4 OLB."

Positives from our scouting report: Rates as exceptional in height-weight-speed, intangibles and above average in instincts/recognition, range versus the run and third-down capabilities. “Ideal length and initial burst to gain edge. Flashes quick hands and can dip inside shoulder to turn the corner.”

Negatives from our scouting reports: Rates as average in production, durability, tackling and take-on skills, “Tends to throttle down prior to contact, rather than exploding through. Leaves his feet too often and misses too many attempted arm tackles.”

Likelihood in my eyes he’s available at No. 11: Very high.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

What was the Titans' best re-signing? Who's the best newcomer? Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean considers these and other important questions.

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr remains the most popular mock draft pick for the Titans at No. 11. That’s the pick of Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, who rounds up a lot of other opinions.

A Nashville group is trying to put together "an annual, high-profile, early-season college football game for LP Field beginning as early as 2016," according to John Glennon of The Tennessean.

The Titans were slated to have veteran offensive lineman Mike McGlynn in to visit Wednesday and Thursday, per Wyatt.

To which I say: The Colts beat out the Titans for D’Qwell Jackson and Arthur Jones. It’s not much of a countermeasure if the Titans take away a lineman who's been part of a group that's been Indianapolis' biggest problem. Though as a swing backup interior guy, McGlynn would have less of a role for the Titans than he's had for the Colts. Re-signing Chris Spencer is a better option.

A transcript of the NFL competition committee press conference.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

The pros and cons of the five outside free agents the Titans have brought in, from John Glennon of The Tennessean.

The Titans re-signed interior defensive lineman Antonio Johnson, says Glennon.

Anthony Barr is the default pick for the Titans in mock drafts, and Barr is the choice by Charles Davis of NFL Media in this mock.

Bernard Pollard talked more about how aggressive he expects the Titans to be on defense, says Craig Peters of the team’s website. “All I can say to our fans, to opposing teams is we’re going to come get you. We’re not going to shy away from it,” Pollard said. “I know last year we kind of set back and did some things and didn’t pressure, but this is going to be a defense where we’re going to go get them, and I’m excited for that.”

Michael Oher talked with the team’s website after he signed his contract. (Video.)

Tennessee’s Super Bowl odds have actually gotten longer since free agency opened, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

The Titans haven’t fared great in free agency in the eyes of Jordan Churchill of Music City Miracles.

Analyzing Kiper 3.0: Titans

March, 13, 2014
Mar 13
Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.'s pick for the Tennessee Titans in two earlier mock drafts, moves up two spots in version 3.0. Insider

This time around Kiper projects UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr to Tennessee. Barr has become the standard default pick for the Titans.

I like this pick better that Lewan for Tennessee.

The Titans are going to be a hybrid defense, shifting toward a 3-4. Akeem Ayers translates as does Kamerion Wimbley, but Wimbley is expensive with a $7.8 million cap charge and a $6 million base. He may need to take a pay reduction to stick around. Cutting him would save $2.4 million.

Barr projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker and has a connection to the Titans. New linebackers coach Lou Spanos was Barr’s defensive coordinator at UCLA.

Barr is agile and fast and has excellent pass-rushing attributes that include long arms and great athleticism. If he's on the board at No. 11, I think he's a guy the Titans will seriously consider in the spot.

Kiper has Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley still on the board when the Titans pick, and I see them as possibilities as well.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

Reviewing the Titans receivers from 2013 with Tom Gower of Total Titans.

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr is the pick for the Titans at No. 11 by Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated in his new mock draft.

Grading the Titans' 2010 draft with Jordan Churchill of Music City Miracles.

Are there any Patriots coming free who would be good fits in Tennessee, asks Will Lomas of the Yahoo! contributors network.
Mock draft season is cranking up, and we’ve got new ones from Mel Kiper and Todd McShay to review.

Kiper sticks with his pick for the Titans from his first mock: Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan.

Lewan could replace outgoing right tackle David Stewart in 2014 and be poised to move to left tackle to replace Michael Roos down the road. Lewan would certainly upgrade the position, but it would be a second consecutive first-round choice on an offensive lineman.

Given the reshaping of the defensive front and scheme changes on both sides of the ball, my gut at this stage is that the Titans will be heading in a different direction with the 11th pick.

McShay goes with UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr, a player the Titans will gain some insight on from new linebackers coach Lou Spanos. Spanos came to Tennessee after serving as the Bruins' defensive coordinator.

Says McShay: “Michigan OT Taylor Lewan and Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would also fill needs here, but I think Barr would be a fit for new defensive coordinator Ray Horton's hybrid scheme, given Barr's experience working on the line and standing up as a 3-4 outside linebacker.”

I’ll lean toward McShay over Kiper here at this early stage.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Scouts Inc. ranks UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr third on its big board of collegiate players coming out in the 2014 draft.

It’s hard to predict in January where a guy’s getting drafted in May.

But the draft doesn’t align with a January big board, and the Titans could wind up with a shot at Barr 11th overall.

As John Glennon of The Tennessean pointed out to me Friday night when we took in a hockey game, the Titans now have a solid track to inside info on Barr. New Tennessee linebackers coach Lou Spanos has spent the past two years as UCLA’s defensive coordinator.

Here’s ESPN.com’s player card for Barr, which includes this with an “exceptional” rating in “third-down capabilities.”
“Possesses the tools to develop into an impact pass rusher. Excellent length, above-average initial get-off and explosiveness. Has a rare closing burst. Just average torso flexibility to bend the edge and needs to continue development with hands as counter puncher. Good range in underneath zone coverage and flashes the athleticism to match up with tight ends in man coverage when his technique improves.”