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Derek Barnett Would Make a Great Addition for the Eagles

derek barnett Photo via USATSI, Specific credit unknown

The Philadelphia Eagles would make for a great landing spot for defensive end Derek Barnett. Standing at 6’3 and 259 lbs., he has all the skills to make for a great pass rusher, something that many teams in the NFL, including the Eagles, need. Barnett has been mocked to go anywhere from in the top ten picks of the first round to in the middle of the first round.

The Tennessee product has amassed some good stats in his three years of college, wracking up a combined 32.0 sacks in his time at Tennessee.

*The following stats come from www.sports-reference.com

2014: 13 games, 73 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks

2015: 13 games, 69 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks

2016: 13 games, 56 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 13.0 sacks

In all three of his years at Tennessee, Barnett proved to be a dominant force that opposing teams would need to game plan for. One of the reasons that Barnett has been such a dominant force is that he knows how to use his hands.

Barnett excels at using his hands to get around offensive lineman, his hands are very strong and fast. Also, Barnett has a lot of strength, and he uses it to get himself past offensive lineman and he is also able to beat a double team. Barnett also has a killer instinct, and he enjoys getting into the backfield to make the play. In addition to his skills as a pass rusher, Barnett can also play some coverage when needed, which is something that many NFL teams will love to be able to have from their defensive end.

Barnett also has some weaknesses to his game too, although his strengths far outweigh his weaknesses. The University of Tennessee product lacks an explosiveness to his game, meaning that he doesn’t have that quick burst at the start of a play. However, Barnett is often able to make up for it using both his quick, strong hands and his strength.

In addition, Barnett often struggles shifting his body weight to a different direction when needed, and this will give him problems against quicker, more agile quarterbacks in the NFL. Also, some NFL scouts have said that he will need to develop another go-to move that he can use in the pass rush outside of beating the offensive lineman with his strength and hands.

Barnett would make for a good pass rusher on many NFL teams, and teams can never have enough pass rushers. The Philadelphia Eagles, currently at pick 14, could be one of the teams that are interested in the Barnett’s services. Although Philadelphia signed defensive end Chris Long earlier this offseason, and they have Brandon Graham already settled as the starter at one of the defensive end positions, the Eagles might still be in need of a pass rushing defensive end.

Vinny Curry, currently signed to a five year, $47.250 million contract (spotrac.com), is in line to be the starter at the other defensive end spot going into this upcoming season. However, Curry is unproven and might prove to be unable to play up to a starter’s expectations. This means that Barnett would be a good fit to an already promising Eagles’ defensive line, and even if Curry ends up playing well, a team in the NFL can never have enough pass rushers.

The only problem is will Barnett fall to the Eagles pick at 14? There are a couple of teams that pick ahead of Philadelphia that might be interested in drafting the Tennessee product. The Cincinnati Bengals, currently at pick nine, are in need of a pass rusher to bolster their defensive front. The New Orleans Saints, holding pick 11, could be looking to form a dominant pass-rushing duo, and drafting Barnett to go along with Cameron Jordan would make for a great one-two punch at defensive end.

Overall, Barnett has the skills and potential to become an elite pass rusher in the NFL and many teams are going to be interested in acquiring his services in next Thursday night’s NFL draft.

Draft projection: Top-15 picks in the first round

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