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UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr exudes confidence before NFL draft

UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr exudes confidence before NFL draft
UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr looked plenty tough taking on Baylor, minus his helmet at the moment, during the Holiday Bowl in 2012. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Anthony Barr, the former Loyola High star running back turned fearsome linebacker at UCLA, is out to prove he's the No. 1 defensive player available in the NFL draft.

Not lacking bravado, he told FoxSports.com this week that he's "absolutely" sure he could be the No. 1 overall pick if he tests well at the NFL combine and does well in interviews with teams. That goes against the thinking of most so-called draft experts, some of whom believe Barr is actually overrated.

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"I think I am the complete package," said the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Barr. "I can help a team right away win football games, playoff games and championships. It's something that I always dreamed about. The teams that do pass on me will regret it."

Yep, Barr went the route of the chip-on-the-shoulder guy. There has been plenty of fodder too, since Matt Johnson of edraft.com listed him the No. 3 most overrated player in the draft (Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron was his No. 1 choice) and ESPN's Toddy McShay said last week that he saw Barr "sliding down" the draft board.

Others, including Barr, see plenty of upside, particularly since he's only played linebacker for two years in college.

"I just think I'm a three-down guy," Barr said recently in a podcast for nfldrafttracker.com. "I can cover the tight end, cover the back out of the backfield. I can rush the passer, I can play the run. I can just do it all."

Not that he doesn't have work to do. He made that clear in his remarks to FoxSports.com.

"I don't think I'm a finished product by any means," Barr said. "There are a lot of areas that I need to work on and improve on. But I think I've been able to learn over the past two years and to do what I've done says a lot. It just shows that I have a lot of room for improvement and growth and if I continue to work at it the sky is the limit."

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