The Dallas Cowboys entered Wednesday worried about two key positions. Having fewer players at wideout and a linebacker unit that could easily smell disaster if Leighton Vander Esch or Jabril Cox were to get hurt.
The wide receiver issue has worsened due to Michael Gallup’s prolonged recuperation time and James Washington‘s recent Jones fracture of his right foot.
By making Anthony Barr, a former first-round draft pick, an official member of the Cowboys’ roster late on Thursday, they strengthened what was perhaps the worst position on their strongest offensive unit.
New Cowboys LB Anthony Barr pic.twitter.com/9nU0KEdQIJ
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 5, 2022
Barr, now 30 years old, was drafted ninth overall by the Minnesota Vikings in 2014 and has been selected to the Pro Bowl for four consecutive years (2015–18).
Optimism is warranted on this score. Barr had 495 tackles, 39 for loss, 31 pass deflections, 17.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 5 interceptions during his stint with the Vikings.
Barr may have played his last game in the Pro Bowl due to a string of ailments that have forced him to miss time over the past two seasons (he missed 14 games in 2020 and six games in 2019). However, he is cheap enough to fill a role for Dallas and will begin showing his stuff in Friday’s walkthrough and Saturday’s pads practice in Oxnard.
With incentives, Barr’s salary with the Cowboys in 2022 can reach $3 million. If those goals are achieved, he will be well worth the investment. Most Cowboys supporters are ecstatic about this.
It was predicted that Barr would be a first-round pick for the NFL in 2014. After the end of the college football season, Sports Illustrated had him pegged as the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Barr had the sixth-best 40-yard sprint time among linebackers (4.66 seconds) and the 14th-best vertical jump (40 inches) at the 2014 NFL Combine (34.5 inches).
According to NFL.com’s combine tracker, his 15 bench presses put him at the very bottom of the pack. His electronic 40-yard sprint time was 4.41 seconds, he benched 19 times, and he broad jumped 3.20 meters at UCLA’s Pro Day on March 11.
The Minnesota Vikings selected Barr in the first round, ninth overall, making him the most drafted defensive player from UCLA since Eric Turner was picked second overall in 1991.
Since UCLA’s Jonathan Ogden was taken sixth overall in 1996, this is UCLA’s first top-10 draft pick. He also became the highest Bruins linebacker ever drafted, passing Jamir Miller, who was picked tenth overall in 1994.
According to Nate Cohn of The New York Times in 2022, only two of the 19 top picks in the NFL draft since 2005, Barr and Ryan Mathews, have had careers that warranted being selected far earlier than their ESPN draft ranking.
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