BBV Film Room Showdown: Jeremiah Attaochu, DE/OLB, Georgia Tech vs. Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA

Grant Halverson

What's this? A showdown in the film room? Community member #56 4life (Attaochu) and staff writer 'Raptor' (Barr) go head-to-head in breaking down two of their favorite prospects in this year's draft class.

For this edition of the BBV Film Room, #56 4Life and I each do a film study of a potential Giant. #56 took Georgia Tech defensive end Jeremiah Attaochu, while I took linebacker Anthony Barr of UCLA.

Being the gentleman that I am, and because "A" comes before "B" in the alphabet (it's as good a reason as any), #56 4Life is up first!

Jeremiah Attaochu

Attaochu has been a big name at Georgia Tech for a while, and his most recent season was a very successful one. Putting together a season of 45 tackles and 12.5 sacks, Attaochu was a disruptive force coming off the edge. Since we're doing a head to head, Barr's numbers were 66 tackles and 10 sacks. Now since Attaochu played more of a defensive end type position with Barr playing more of a linebacker position, it's to be expected that Barr's tackle number is higher, just as it's expected for Attaochu's sack number to be higher. Still, the numbers for both categories are pretty similar, yet Barr is touted as a Top 15 prospect while Attaochu is consistently mocked in the third round.

When I roll the tape for Attaochu, I see a player that I prefer over Barr. Now I'm not saying Attaochu is a Top 15 player, but I'm also of the opinion that Barr isn't either. I see similar players here, yet I believe Attaochu should end up at defensive end in the NFL, while Barr is probably better suited for a 3-4 outside linebacker role. Many people will say that Attaochu is too light to play defensive end, but I disagree. His Combine measurements were 6-foot-3, 252 pounds, which is eerily similar to Osi Umenyiora. The big difference is that I believe Attaochu is much more stout against the run than our former pass rush specialist. Also he's not quite as fast as Osi was, but very few are. But don't take my word for it, let's look at the tape! I won't be going over every play, just the ones that really highlight the positives and negatives of Attaochu's game.

The Film

Play One: (0:12-0:19) - Not the best way to start out film, as we see Attaochu get stuck to his blocker. Even with quicker passes like this one, I'd like to see the hands be a little more active here.

Play Two: (0:19-0:31) - Starting off in a 4-point stance, Attaochu flashes part of his game that I really like. Right as he comes out of his stance, Attaochu stays low and makes his move to the inside. Any time Attaochu comes across a Tackle's face, he seems to be successful. Whether using a rip move, or a speed/step combination, Attaochu is excellent and sliding nearly untouched into the gap between the guard and tackle. Here he gets a bit of pressure, but the ball is thrown quickly.

Play Three: (0:31-0:45) - Attaochu comes off the edge here, and he loops a little too far out at the beginning of the play. But instead of continuing too far up field and allowing the Tackle to ride him out of the play, he disengaged from the block and puts himself back in position to make a play. He probably would have too if his teammates didn't take care of the QB.

Play Four: (0:57-1:30) - This is a strong example of Attaochu's football IQ. Here, Clemson's blockers release downfield to set up the screen, and almost immediately Attaochu recognizes this. He utilizes his athleticism to spin around and put himself into position to make a play on the screen man. While his momentum has him slip of the running back instead of making the tackle, it's still an excellent play. By slowing the running back down, the rest of Georgia Tech's defense is allowed to swarm and make a play on the ball carrier. Also note how even after he misses the tackle, Attaochu gets right back up and is ready to make the play. Good motor on display here as well.

Play Five: (1:30-1:49) - Here we have another example of Attaochu winning by going inside. This time, he's stunting to the middle of the Line, and completely blows by any blocker that might have a chance of getting their hands on him. This time, his speed earns him a sack, as he wraps up Tajh Boyd and drags him to the ground. Both a good play design by the DC, and good execution by Attaochu.

Play Six: (1:50-2:00) - A good play coming off the edge, Attaochu has active hands here and avoids getting tied up by the Tackle. There's definitely pressure applied here by Attaochu that forces Boyd to step up, and eventually abandon the pass entirely.

Play Seven: (2:14-2:48) - Attaochu's second sack of the night comes on a classic "Dwight Freeney Special". Coming off the edge, we see good bend from Attaochu as he maneuvers around the tackle. We also see a good use of the right arm as he wards off the tackle and doesn't let him impede his track towards the quarterback. Now Boyd recognizes the pressure and takes off, yet Attaochu turns on the jets and gets a hold on Boyd's ankles, bringing him down for the sack. A good show of speed here along with a strong pass rush move.

Play Eight: (2:49-2:58) - Our first real evidence of Attaochu versus the run. Attaochu does a good job of sitting down in his gap and not over pursuing based on the ball carriers initial path. He keeps the runner in front of him and makes the tackle here.

Play Nine: (3:08-3:19) - A very explosive play here, as Attaochu trounces over the Tight End assigned to block him. The Tight End literally gets knocked to the ground from the hit. I like this a lot. Attaochu then applies a bit of pressure as the back tries to impede his path, even getting a hit on Boyd.

Play 10: (3:20-3:31) - It's a good start to the play for Attaochu, he stunts to the inside and pushes the pocket backwards, but he's unable to separate from the Lineman who got his hands on him. He forces Boyd to readjust and move around a bit, but if he disengages from the Lineman he has another sack. This play ends with Attaochu getting shoved to the ground after he gets off balance.

Play 11: ( 3:31-3:42) - Here Attaochu starts out with a stutter step, getting the Tackle a bit off balance. It's a shame that he didn't follow up with another move, because he gets caught up in the infamous "wash" that occurs along the LOS.

Play 12: (3:43-3:54) - Doesn't get off his block here, but the play happens quickly. Still, if you're going to engage with the tackle the way Attaochu did here, do it as soon as the ball is snapped. Don't let him get his feet set, that gives him the advantage. Attaochu hesitates a second before engaging, that can be worked on.

Play 13: (3:55-4:05) - A little delayed screen up the middle here, but it doesn't really matter, as Attaochu gets tangled up with the tackle.

Play 14: (4:26-4:37) - Draws a stalemate with the tackle, which in my case is a win for the tackle if it's a passing play, which it was.

Play 15: (5:07-5:20) - Skipping forward here a bit, we see Attaochu put a good move on the left tackle here, and he does a good job of pressuring Boyd. Just wish he could have wrapped him up for a third sack.

Play 16: (5:20-5:31) - Here's a quick example of why I think Attaochu should be playing a 4-3 defensive end as opposed to the 3-4 outside linebacker position. You see him initially begin to drop back here, but it's ugly. He appears to shuffle backwards as opposed to flowing back there naturally, but when he recognizes the run, he begins to look much more natural, coming up and getting involved in the play.

Play 17: (5:31-5:41) - Not a good job of staying in his gap here, as Attaochu drifts a bit too far too the inside, allowing the RB to get the edge and pick up a good chunk of yards.

Play 18: (6:00-6:06) - Initially does a good job holding up the pulling blocker and manning the LOS, but he's unable to slide off the block and make the tackle. Looks a bit like Justin Tuck at the beginning of last year, able to hold his own, just couldn't disengage.

Post Film Impression

When I watch film on Attaochu, I usually come away impressed. In spite of his lack of size, I think he's a great fit for a 4-3 defensive end. He never gets washed out in the run game, but he could use some coaching on how to disengage from blockers once he has them stalemated. It seems like he has a bit of an issue with that, but only against the run. Against the pass, he has pretty good hand usage. His speed both coming around the edge and coming back across the Tackle's face is excellent, and that's just something that can't be taught.

Attaochu vs. Barr

The reason I like Attaochu over Barr is mostly due to the fact that he's a much better pass rusher. While Barr is a heck of an athlete, and he's new at his position, there is a chance he won't be able to develop as many pass-rush maneuvers as Attaochu already possesses. In my eyes, Barr relies too much on trying to loop around the tackle, and if he doesn't get past him, he gets stalemated and loses his battle. Attaochu, on the other hand, already has a lot more tricks up his sleeve for getting by the tackle. He has great inside moves, and he prefers the "dip" method of outside rush as opposed to the "loop". The dip stays a lot tighter to the play, not opening up space for a scrambling quarterback to slip through like the loop does.

Barr has been talked about as a possible pick for the Giants at No. 12, but I really don't see it all. He's nowhere near NFL ready, and I think that's what the Giants need right now. And as much as I like Attaochu, I don't think many people will see him the way I do, and elevate his stock to a first-rounder. Even if they did, I don't believe Attaochu is a good pick for the Giants at 12. But if it comes to taking Attaochu in the second or Barr in the first, my pick is Attaochu 10 times out or 10. If Barr happens to fall to the second round (I doubt it, but his stock HAS been slipping lately) and both Attaochu and Barr are there for the Giants pick in the second round, I'm still taking Attaochu. Let me know what y'all think!

Anthony Barr

And now, presenting Anthony Barr, allow me to introduce ... myself.

Anyone else feel like we need Michael Buffer to do the intro here?

Anyway, on to Anthony Barr. When #56 puts on Attaochu's film he sees a potential 4-3 defensive end. Well, when I put on Anthony Barr's film, I see a 4-3 SAM linebacker. Even though Barr is almost DE-sized himself (6-5, 250 pounds) he has the range and fluidity to match up in coverage with most running backs or tight ends, spy athletic quarterbacks. Put in number form, at the combine Barr turned in a 4.19 second short shuttle (4.64 for Attaochu), 6.82 second 3-cone drill (7.28).

But #56 is correct when he says that as of right now (and maybe the whole 2014 season) the two are pretty similar prospects. However, when you're drafting Anthony Barr, you aren't drafting the player he IS, you're drafting the player he can become. In his two years at linebacker he has notched some impressive numbers, his upside is what you are betting on. And it is a bet, but Barr's upside is almost tangible. At the Combine he weighed in at 255 pounds, and turned in a solid, but disappointing 4.66 40 time, and a disappointing 15 reps on the bench press (though understandable given the length of his arms). At UCLA's Pro Day, Barr weighed in at 247 pounds and turned in an electronically timed 4.41 40-yard dash. Running faster at a lighter weight is almost expected. What isn't expected is to lose weight, get faster, and get stronger (19 reps on the bench press).

But enough with the numbers, lets get back to the tape. Like #56 I'm going to pick a few plays that show his strengths and weaknesses in coverage, the run game, and rushing the passer.

The Film

Pass Rush

Play 1 - (0:00-0:20) Barr starts out this game well. He gets a decent jump off the snap, first going inside, then using an outside move. He does a good job of keeping his pads down and using his length to get his hands on the left tackle first, then disengaging from the block to make a play on the passer. In fact, he does a nice enough job that the tackle is forced to hold him. That's also why Barr wound up on the ground and the quarterback was able to get the pass off.

Play 2 - (0:54 - 1:18) Before the snap Barr is lined up as an outside linebacker over the tight end. After the snap the tight end goes out in a quick route, while the left tackle goes into a kick-slide and picks up Barr. He does a good job of keeping low and getting leverage on the tackle, pushing him back into the quarterback and helping to cause the sack-fumble. Barr missed the fumble part and winds up standing around, but that happens. Overall it's a solid play

Play 3 - (2:46 - 2:52) Here we see Barr lined up along the line of scrimmage between the tight end and left tackle. Appears to be in a running formation, but they throw it when the safety comes down. Barr gets chipped by the tight end and then blocked by the left tackle. This is an instance where Barr's rawness shows, as he stumbles a bit off the chip block and fails to get his hands on the left tackle first, letting the tackle push him to the ground

Play 4 - (10:17-10:50) Once more we see Barr lined up across from the left tackle and gets a 1-on-1 match-up. At the snap Barr makes a very quick feint to the outside, and the left tackle respects his speed enough to honor that. Barr follows up with a fast spin move to the inside. He gets his feet tangled with the tackle's, but he still gets close enough, quick enough to bring the quarterback down with one hand from his knees.

Run Game

Play 1 - (2:55 - 3:02) Once again we see Barr lined up close to the line of scrimmage, taking on the left tackle. And while Barr does a decent job of holding the block, and might have been able to make a play on the running back had the play gone outside, he gets turned perpendicular to the line of scrimmage and can't help when the runner goes between the tackles. No harm done, as the back only picks up one yard, but chalk this up as loss for Barr.

Play 2 - (0:44-0:50) This play begins with Barr lined up at outside linebacker over a tight end. After the snap he comes down and engages the tight end. He holds the block until the back commits. When he does, he gets off the block and forces the running back inside to the rest of the defense. He gets more upright than you'd like to see this play. He still has enough strength and leverage not to get pushed around or controlled, so no harm done. But, I'd still like to see him play with some better pad level. Good play, but there's room for improvement.

Play 3 - (4:24 - 4:30) Barr starts this play lined up between the tight end and left tackle. After the snap the tight end and left tackle crash inward while the left guard pulls out to create the seal for the run. Barr fends off the block from the tight end, then avoids the pulling guard to make a great stop behind the line on a 3rd and 1. If there's anything wrong with this play, it's that Barr over-runs the back slightly and has to make a dragging tackle. However, he uses his length and quickness well to get his hands on the back and bring him down. I would have liked to have seen a form tackle, but I don't think the rest of the defense was complaining much.

Play 4 - (5:43 - 5:59) Once again we find Barr lined up at outside linebacker over the left tackle to start this play. The play goes between the tackles but on the other side of the offensive line, so there isn't much that Barr can do at the point of attack. However, when he sees that the runner has made it past the rest of the front, he does a great job of disengaging from the left tackle to run down the back from behind. Not only is this a great show of motor and athleticism, but he also did a nice job of keeping the tackle off him enough that he can get off the block to make the tackle before the running back does too much damage.

Coverage

Play 1 - (1:56 - 2:05) For this play, Barr lines up as a linebacker right on the line of scrimmage. He initially goes for the outside move, and looks to have the left tackle beat. However, it turns out to be an attempt at a screen pass. Barr quickly realizes that and stops his rush to drop into coverage, preventing the quick throw. While Marsh does a terrific job of firing off the ball and absolutely crushes the USC quarterback, Barr's recognition of the play keeps the ball in the QBs hand.

Play 2 - (8:21 - 8:30) Just before the snap we see Barr backing off the line of scrimmage and moving to drop into coverage. At the snap he drops into a shallow zone. The TV camera is the enemy here, as Barr's drop takes him out of the frame. However, it appears that a receiver is going through his zone. Barr must have passed him off to another defender and kept his eyes in the backfield, because he breaks on the ball fast enough to clean up the quick pass behind the line of scrimmage.

Play 3 - (8:51- 9:06) Once more we see Barr start out lined up near the line of scrimmage, but back off into coverage shortly before the snap. He looks fairly comfortable back in coverage and keeps his eyes in the backfield as he starts to come down to cover the tight end on the short route. He sees the QB target the receiver over the middle and breaks off the tight end to come help with the receiver.

Unfortunately the other plays where Barr is in coverage are like these two. The TV angle doesn't show much of his technique and comfort level, and the ball doesn't really go near him anyway.

Post Film Impression

Like always, Anthony Barr's athleticism jumps off the screen to me. He somehow manages to be big and fast, long and quick. And while he obviously needs to be coached up on the technique side of things, there are also quite a few things that Barr does right instinctively. One of my favorite things about Barr is that while he is new to the position and makes mistakes, he makes them out loud. He plays fast and with little hesitation.

Barr vs Attaochu

This is a bit of a tricky comparison for me.

With Attaochu (whether you draft him at linebacker or defensive end), you are getting a player who is experienced, can rush the passer while still being competent against the run.

With Anthony Barr you are drafting a linebacker who is still learning his position. However, you are also getting one of the premier athletes in the draft, and a player for whom the word 'ceiling' is almost an insult. In short, you draft him on what he could be, rather than what he is.

Barr brings more to the table than simply rushing the passer (though that was his calling card in college). For the Giants he would be able to use his size and athleticism to drop into coverage on just about any running back or tight end in the league, can play the run, and brings the kind of athleticism and pass rush ability to the Giants linebacking corps that it has lacked for a long, long time.

I would take Attaochu 43rd overall (depending, of course, on what the rest of the board looked like). But, I'm doing a fist pump if Barr is picked by the Giants 12th overall. He needs to learn how to play his position at the highest level. However, like Aldon Smith or (my favorite comparison for Barr) JPP before him, I think a smart team can get plenty of production out of him year one if they pick their battles and let him do what he knows. Barr is one of those rare players who can literally be as good as he wants to be. Teams like the Giants don't get many chances to get players who are basically physically unlimited, with high character, and the kind of work ethic that coaches rave about.

Well, there's my argument. Vote in the poll below and let us know who won our debate.

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