Until the first round of the draft actually gets here, the debate will continue to rage on: Khalil Mack or Anthony Barr? With the recent news that the Falcons want to have a strong base 3-4 defense, this debate is even more relevant to the Falcons since both players will likely be available at No. 6 and both fit well as outside linebackers with the ability to rush the quarterback in the 3-4 scheme.
It could be years before we k now which of the two is better, but NFL Media’s Bucky Brooks took a stab at comparing the two currently using analytics produced from a computer. The blog is called ‘Man vs. Machine’ and it’s always an interesting read, particularly for these two linebackers because of the comparisons it makes.
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT: Anthony Barr
For Barr, the machine arrives at NFL comparisons of DeMarcus Ware as well as a few young pass rushers still finding their way in Dion Jordan and Barkevious Mingo. Brooks thinks the similarity of Barr’s 3-cone drill time to Ware’s means the linebacker could have elite edge ability.
“Given the importance of getting to the quarterback, the ability to “bend and burst” around the corner could make him a Pro Bowl-caliber playmaker at the next level.”
For Mack, comparisons hit close to home. The machine gave the name of current Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon as a player closely comparable to Mack. Others include A.J. Hawk and Aaron Curry. Mack was an extremely disruptive player in college, but Brooks doesn’t see quite the same impact at the NFL level.
DRAFT SPOTLIGHT: Khalil Mack
“I’s important to keep Mack’s potential in perspective when making comparisons leading up to the draft,” Brooks wrote. “He might be ideally suited to play the role of Robin instead of Batman for an elite defense.”
The entire blog by Brooks is well worth a read and while we may not have a definitive answer on who projects as the better pro, we now have less than two months to talk about it before the 2014 draft.