Derek Barnett was an outstanding difference maker on the defensive line of the Tennessee Volunteers all 3 years he was a part of the team. Barnett started 10 of the 13 games Tennessee played in as a true freshman. He finished his freshman season with 10.5 sacks which broke Jadeveon Clowney’s freshman record of 8. Barnett also broke NFL great Reggie White’s long-standing career sack record at the school with 33 sacks in his 3 seasons. Barnett was named First-Team All-SEC team in 2016. Barnett finished his college campaign totaling 198 tackles (52 for loss), the 33 sacks previously mentioned, 1 interception and 3 forced fumbles.
Barnett measured in at 6’3″ and 259 pounds running a 4.88 40-yard dash. Barnett is mostly ranked as the third best defensive end prospect in the entire draft behind Solomon Thomas and Myles Garrett. Barnett is being mocked around picks 11-25 and could absolutely be a force with his power and ability to shed offensive linemen.
Pros: Just by viewing Barnett’s tape I was really impressed with the competitiveness that he showed. Barnett has an explosive first step and has a very good speed rush for an athlete his size. Barnett is also very physical and loves to jump on top of the pile or run down an opposing player. Barnett also had very good statistics against the always tough SEC teams. Barnett recorded 12 of his 13 sacks in 2016 against SEC foe.
Cons: Barnett has a tendency to only try and use the speed rush and needs to develop his power rush to succeed in the NFL. Barnett also tends to start out the season slow as his first sack did not come until week 4. Barnett also would try and guess the snap counts and would get called for offsides or would be caught flat-footed when the ball was snapped.
With Brandon Graham now at 29 years old, Chris Long at 32 years old the departure of Connor Barwin, and the lack of Vinny Curry making the most of his reps, Barnett could be a piece the Eagles can use to rebuild their pass rush, to put less pressure on their Cornerbacks.
If the Eagles do decide to go the route of passrusher in the first round, they would still have a lot of holes that they would need to address with their last 7 picks. A defensive line of Graham, Jernigan, Cox, and Barnett would be a very tough obstacle for opposing offensive coordinators to overcome.