The Eagles are hosting Tennessee defensive end prospect Derek Barnett on a pre-draft visit today, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. Barnett is one of 30 prospects who will visit Philadelphia leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft.
Barnett projects as one of the best pass rushers in this year’s class. Many expect him to be the second defensive end off the board after potential No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett.
The 20-year-old Barnett measures in at 6-3, 259 pounds. He was a very productive player in college. Barnett broke the Volunteers’ sack record which was previously held by some guy named Reggie White. In three years at Tennessee, Barnett racked up 198 tackles (a whopping 52 for loss), 32 sacks, six pass deflections, three forced fumbles, and one interception.
A number of draft analysts don’t expect Barnett to be on the board when the Eagles pick at No. 14. Others believe he might fall further than expected. For example, ESPN’s Mel Kiper has Barnett going late in the first round.
But if Barnett is there when Philadelphia is on the clock, expect the Eagles to definitely have interest in him. As I’ve mentioned many times by now, there’s a rumor that the Eagles are leaning defensive end with their first round pick.
For more on Barnett, check out Ben Natan’s scouting report on him.
It is hard to find these types of outliers in the NFL, but the bottom line with each one is that they are able to work their asses off on every snap and play a smart brand of football. Barnett is exactly this type of player and while he may never be among the JJ Watts, Justin Houstons or Von Millers of the world, he can be a productive NFL player. In terms of draft spot, Barnett may not be the most talented player at the 14th pick in the draft, but when a player can fit on your team and contribute at a high level, the "value" as it relates to a vertical draft board becomes secondary. As a wide nine defensive end, Barnett's motor and physicality would make hims great "finisher" on a line that already creates a lot of pressure. His awareness, grit and ability to bring it on every snap will give any defensive line a viable rusher and run defender. For the Eagles, while there are many directions they could go in the middle of the first round, Barnett's fit on the team with Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham already in the fold may be too logical to pass up.
Barnett isn’t the best athlete but he plays a lot better than he tests.
Check out Barnett’s game film via Draft Breakdown. And here’s some highlights footage (warning: music NSFW).
Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey - [Click here]
Washington WR John Ross - [Click here]
Alabama LB Ryan Anderson - [Click here]
Alabama LB Reuben Foster - [Click here]
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook - [Click here]
LSU RB Leonard Fournette - [Click here]
Clemson WR Mike Williams - [Click here]
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis - [Click here]
IUP OL Ethan Cooper - [Click here]
Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu - [Click here]
Grambling State WR Chad Williams - [Click here]
West Virginia WR Shelton Gibson - [Click here]
LSU S Jamal Adams - [Click here]
Ohio State CB Gareon Conley - [Click here]
Penn State S Malik Golden - [Click here]
San Diego State CB Damontae Kazee - [Click here]
Washington CB Kevin King - [Click here]
Colorado CB Ahkello Witherspoon - [Click here]
USC CB Adoree’ Jackson - [Click here]
Tennessee DE Derek Barnett