Anthony Barr rises on Big Board

UCLA's star DE moves into the top five on Mel's list of best pro prospects

Updated: September 25, 2013, 2:23 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider

BarrRic Tapia/Icon SMIAnthony Barr has had an impressive start to the season for the undefeated Bruins.

When was the last time you looked at the L.A. schools and thought UCLA had the edge in elite prospects? I think the Trojans still have better talent overall, despite the depth problems, but based on my Big Board, I see a two-to-one advantage for UCLA inside the top 10. What's more, both of the UCLA prospects are at premium positions -- pass-rusher and quarterback. The Pac-12 is loaded with talent these days, and the battle of Los Angeles has clearly shifted in that regard.

It was a good week for pass-rushers, as UCLA's Anthony Barr moved into the top five, and Vic Beasley of Clemson moved into the top 25. A connection between the two? Both were once running backs, and kept the quickness, and also the lower-body strength, as they transitioned to defense.

As always, scouting reports remain similar week to week, with updates on matchups. Asterisks denote juniors; two asterisks denote redshirt sophomores.

1
Jadeveon Clowney *
AGE: 20
DOB: 2/14/93
HT: 6-6
WT: 265
POS: DE
Tkl 10
Sack 2.0
Int 0

He faces a dangerous UCF team Saturday, with a quarterback in Blake Bortles who can cause problems given time to operate. In other words, it's a good time for No. 7 to have a big game. Clowney combines exceptional strength and quickness, as well as strong hands, to quickly shed blocks. He's not just an edge-rusher looking to quickly turn the corner, as he beats tackles inside effortlessly. He can occasionally play a little high, which allows teams to run at him, but he has improved there and is nowhere near a liability.

PREVIOUS RANK: No. 1 | PLAYER CARD

2
Teddy Bridgewater *
AGE: 20
DOB: 11/10/92
HT: 6-3
WT: 218
POS: QB
Comp 79
Att 110
Pct 71.8
Yds 1,214
TD 14
Int 1

The Cardinals get a week off before they face Temple, yet another team that won't be able to slow them down, which is now more a problem than a compliment. Bridgewater looks as comfortable as he should be against what he's seen so far, typically with the time to scan the whole field. When he sees a target he has a quick release, plenty of arm strength and good ball placement. I really like how he calibrates his throws, not using too much arm when he doesn't need to.

PREVIOUS RANK: No. 2 | PLAYER CARD

3
Louis Nix III *
AGE: 22
DOB: 7/21/91
HT: 6-3
WT: 326
POS: DT
Tkl 14
Sack 0
Int 0

Hasn't done much in the backfield, but he has been a wall. At his best, Nix has the rare size and skills to handle a zero-technique role -- Nix can keep multiple blockers occupied and make life easy for linebackers cleaning up against the run -- but he's not limited to that because he can really move, at least a lot better than you'd expect from a guy who can play at 340 pounds.

PREVIOUS RANK: No. 3 | PLAYER CARD


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst