Let me preface this by saying that Anthony Barr is not the next JJ Watt, they play 2 different positions and have different skill sets, but both have some similarities. Both players have won the Lott IMPACT (Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community, and Tenacity) Trophy. The award has been around for about ten years, and previous winners have had tremendous success in the NFL. The award is handed out to players who show athletic excellence on the field, and tremendous personal character.
The original winner was David Pollack, who had an amazing career in college, finishing 3rd all time in sacks in NCAA history at the time. He was drafted in the first round to the Bengals, but the Lombardi award winner suffered a career ending injury before he could do anything in the NFL.
The next award winner was DeMeco Ryans who was the defensive rookie of the year, and an All Pro linebacker.
After Ryans, Dante Hughes took home the honor. He is the least successful of the awards recipients, and the only one who is a defensive back. He lead the nation in INTS his last season at CAL and was a consensus All American. He was supposed to be the first CB off the board in his draft, but a slow 40 time, dropped him to the third round. He played in the NFL for 5 years, and is currently a free agent.
Glenn Dorsey next won the award, and after a great college career, he was drafted 5th overall. He had a disappointing carer in KC, but was often playing out of position as a 3-4 DE, and was signed by SF where he was their starting NT last season.
James Laurinaitis was the next winner, who had a great college career and was on the NFL All Rookie team after being drafted early in the second round. He has never missed a game, and is the center piece of the Rams defense. He has had 142 tackles the last 2 seasons, and hasn't finished with less than 114 in his career.
The next winner is a name to get to know. Jerry Hughes. He had a great career at TCU, and was drafted in the first round by the Colts. He was extremely disappointing in IND, and was traded to BUF last season where he broke out at the age of 25. In 16 games he started just one, but was able to record 46 tackles and 10 sacks, with 2 forced fumbles as a back up. He has a bright future.
The next winner is JJ Watt. He is an All Pro, and is the best 3-4 DE in the NFL. He was a first round pick as well.
Luke Kuechly was the next winner, and the former first round pick won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the year,
and followed it up with an All Pro campaign winning NFC Defensive player of the year honers.
The next winner was Manti Te'o. He had a decorated college career, but managed to slip into the second round of the draft. He was injured in the preseason, and didn't see the field till week 4. He finished his rookie year with 61 tackles and 4 passes defended. Its to early to judge Te'o.
Anthony Barr is the next winner. He had a great college career, and while he was projected to be an early round 1 pick in the 2013 draft, Barr decided to stay in college one more year, where we drafted him 9th overall. Winners of this award have been very successful, especially the LB's, Ryans, Kuechly, Te'o, and Laurinaitis. We have a great coaching staff to develop him, and this should all point to a hopefully bright career.