The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Derek Barnett with the No. 14 overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles defensive end, I reached out to SB Nation's Tennessee blog: Rocky Top Talk. Volunteers writer Terry Lambert was kind enough to answer my questions about Barnett.
1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?
Barnett will go down as a legend in Knoxville. He was able to break Reggie White's sack record late in his final game, cementing his status as an all-time great. It's a shame he never got to be a part of a title run, but he was pretty easily the best player of his three year era. You don't say this much about defensive guys, but Barnett single-handedly won the Vols a few games over the years. He turned it on in the biggest of spots.
2) What are his strengths?
I think his best asset is his ability to get around the corner. It's odd because he didn't test all that great, but he has this ability to dip/rip around tackles that makes him special. He's a guy that just finds a way. I hate using the "high-motor" cliche, but I think that applies to Barnett.
3) What are his weaknesses?
As I mentioned above, he didn't test all that well. I don't think he's the most explosive guy. He's not going to win with pure speed around the edge. He lacks some length and will get caught trying to time the snap from time to time too. I'm not sure he's ever that elite pass rusher in the league, but he's going to be productive regardless.
4) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
I thought he was in play at #8 to Carolina if McCaffrey was off the board. Cincinnati was a potential match too, but I love his landing spot. This was about right, value-wise. I can't wait to see him play for Jim Schwartz.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
As I mentioned above, I don't think he's the elite athlete to be a top tier rusher, but I think he's right there in that next group. There's no reason he can't be a double digit sack guy in the league. Five years from now, we are probably seeing him cash in on a pretty good size 2nd contract.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
By all accounts, Barnett is a laid back guy -- but that changes on the football field. He's a guy that gave his all during practices and grew into a leadership role. He was beloved by his teammates, which you saw when nearly the whole team greeted him on the field after he broke Reggie's record in the Music City Bowl. He's a local kid from Nashville that stayed in state to play for the Vols, which I think says something too. Barnett was a joy to watch on the field and will go down as one of the best to ever do it in Knoxville. He will be missed. Philly got a great one!