Top 50: Ranking Best On 2016 Schedule; Cowboys Coveted This Playmaking LB

(Editor's Note: With the offseason in full swing, the focus is now shifting to the 2016 season, where the Cowboys have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL. Not only do the Cowboys face five playoff teams but many of the top players in football. So the writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys. Today, we continue the list with Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr.)

Name:Anthony Barr
Team:Minnesota Vikings
Position:Linebacker
Height/Weight:6-5 / 255
Experience:2 seasons
College:UCLA

2016 vs. Cowboys: The Cowboys will travel to Minnesota for their first-ever game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Thursday, Dec. 1.

What's the Deal:Once a player the Cowboys highly coveted in the 2014 NFL Draft, Barr has blossomed into a star for Mike Zimmer's Vikings. The Cowboys former defensive coordinator has to be excited about the potential of Barr, who in two seasons has already shown a knack for big plays. In his rookie season, he won a game at Tampa Bay with a fumble recovery for a touchdown in overtime.

He's also recorded eight sacks in two years as Barr continues to grasp the strong-side linebacker position in Minnesota's 4-3 scheme. 

In 2014, the Cowboys strongly considered taking Barr, who was selected by the Vikings with the ninth overall pick. Dallas stayed at its No. 16 position and drafted guard Zack Martin, who has been a Pro Bowler and All-Pro the last two years.

Expect This:As dynamic as Barr has been, injuries have been an issue for him so far. In two seasons, Barr has missed six games, including four as a rookie in 2014 and then two more last season. With the Vikings facing the Cowboys in early December, injuries could be a concern for all players.

But if healthy, Barr should be a disruptive force for Tony Romo and the Cowboys' passing game.   

Previous Meetings: Barr will face the Cowboys for the first time in the regular season. Barr started the third preseason game last year when the Vikings played at AT&T Stadium, but recorded just one tackle in limited action.

Bryan Broaddus Scouting Report:

  • One of my favorite players from the 2014 NFL Draft. There were some questions where he should play, whether that was as a defensive end or linebacker, but Mike Zimmer is using him at linebacker.
  • Has some power in his game. Can hold the point of attack for a player of his build.
  • Plays with some snap. Outstanding athlete with flexibility and bend. Gets up the field quickly. Will take on the blocker and shed. Can close some ground when tackling. When he sees it, he can get there in a hurry to finish the play.
  • Shows nice awareness to what is going on around him. Not often fooled or out of position.
  • Can be a hard guy to run at because of strength and ability to extend. Plays square, locks out, and skates down the line of scrimmage.
  • As a rusher, he's explosive up the field. Can get low to the ground, dip his shoulder and get by the blocker.
  • Relentless after the ball. Long and rangy. Keeps coming after you. Explosive and sudden quickness off the ball on a speed rush.
  • Will make plays all day if left uncounted for. Type of player that the offensive staff has to scheme for. Is everything I thought he'd be as a player and a little more.

The writers of DallasCowboys.com have ranked the Top 50 players expected to be on the field this season, including the Cowboys.

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