Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack Battling for Top Linebacker Spot at the Combine


Oct 19, 2013; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Bulls linebacker Khalil Mack (46) against the Massachusetts Minutemen at University of Buffalo Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Barr of UCLA was supposed to be the best outside linebacker as the college season came to a close, but Khalil Mack of Buffalo is closing in on that top spot and has surpassed Barr on many draft boards.

Barr and Mack tied at an unofficial 4.66 in their first attempts at the 40-yard dash. Both are quick players more than capable of holding down the outside linebacker spot for an NFL team. However, Barr is a player that relies on speed to beat his blocker and set the edge or get the the passer. Mack, on the other hand, has a variety of ways to get to the passer, including strength and an overall tenacity that is unmatched by even the top pass rushing prospect in the draft, Jadaveon Clowney.

UPDATE: On Barr’s second attempt, he posted a 4.63. Mack posted a 4.62 on his 2nd attempt.

40-yard dash: Advantage Khalil Mack

Anthony Barr only posted 15 reps of 225 lbs. on the bench press. I’ve said is before, and I will say it again. Bench press has absolutely no effect on the skill of a football player unless his position is laying on the ground pushing people up towards the sky. I haven’t seen the sort of strategy yet, so I am still not sure why bench is the exercise scouts want to see. Regardless, it is another measure to compare, and Anthony Barr did himself no favors today.

Mack put up 23 bench reps today. By no means did Mack blow away the competition (by comparison, the top number was 30) but I think he did enough to separate himself from Barr after showing he is just as fast. Unless Mack absolutely blows the rest of the combine, his production today will likely solidify his spot on top of Anthoyn Barr in the draft.

Bench press: Advantage Khalil Mack

Does these combine numbers do enough to convince you that Mack is a more complete prospect? Does anyone still think the ceiling is higher for Anthony Barr?