Top 10 OLB prospects

UCLA's Anthony Barr tops ranking of best outside linebackers in the nation

Updated: August 29, 2013, 11:47 AM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

Anthony BarrJeff Gross/Getty ImagesAnthony Barr will make life difficult for Pac-12 QBs this season.
For years, I've tried to update the top five NFL prospects at each position, for both the junior and senior classes, each week from the beginning of the college football season right up until the draft. Enough of that. This year I decided to do something different. I'll now be ranking the top 10 NFL draft prospects at each position -- with all draft-eligible players included in the same ranking -- just a few times during the season.

For one, it's more helpful to see the juniors, seniors and occasional draft-eligible sophomores all together, just as you see them in the NFL draft. Second, trying to watch enough football and talk to enough evaluators to readjust the rankings every week just got ridiculous.

So here goes with the first version for the 2013 season. The Big Board, of course, will still be updated each week. Below, you have the top outside linebackers.

Note that one asterisk denotes a junior; two asterisks denote a draft-eligible sophomore.


1. Anthony Barr, UCLA Bruins

The one-time fullback was moved to outside linebacker, and the results couldn't have been better in 2012. Barr has a long frame and reach, a great initial burst and often beats blockers with quickness. He can close fast and shows some decent instincts in space. He needs to work on counters and getting free of blockers who get their hands on him. In games I saw where he faced really good blocking, such as a pair of games against Stanford, you could see him getting frustrated. Expect another big year, however, as he figures it all out.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst