Even though the Eagles gave up their 2017 first-rounder for quarterback Carson Wentz, they were a beneficiary of Minnesota’s need for a quarterback, as they got back into the first round by trading Sam Bradford last eyar. The way Wentz played this year showed they didn’t really miss Bradford. They got the second-best pure edge rusher in the draft in Barnett at No. 14.
SB Nation: B-
If the Eagles were after production, they got it with Barnett. Philadelphia is stacking defensive linemen who can get after the quarterback with Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, and Timmy Jernigan. The four man rush in Philadelphia will improve the team’s pass coverage. The only knock is that Barnett isn’t the cornerback the Eagles desperately need, and there are a bunch available.
Let’s get this out of the way: I’m not an NFL prospect guy. But here are some thoughts on Derek Barnett after reading, watching and talking to people about him.
He’s going to be a solid pro. He’s advanced in his technique and still young (only 21). Some, like Dan, who picked Barnett in his mock yesterday, sees his youth as a good thing. Others, like Adam on the podcast this morning, think the fact that he’s this far advanced at a young age indicates that he’s peaked and doesn’t have much upside and first round value.
Here’s Adam’s take– it’s worth noting he hosted Bleacher Report’s five-hour live coverage on Facebook last night and sits and works with NFL scouts and experts who had strong feelings against taking Barnett at 14:
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None of this stuff is a knock on Barnett’s ability– it’s more an indication that there was better talent or more value to be had at 14, whether it was Jonathan Allen or a cornerback.
I had heard all along that the Eagles, particularly Howie Roseman, wanted a defensive lineman. It became clear that their main target was a defensive end. Barnett was atop that list, followed by Charles Harris. The Eagles probably didn’t think Barnett would fall to them, but the run on quarterbacks and wide receivers opened things up (and closed the door on a wide receiver), allowing Barnett to slip. So, they took him. I think that had he been off the board in addition to the top-flight receivers, the Eagles would’ve taken Charles Harris.
So, from that standpoint, I feel good about the pick– the Eagles got the guy they wanted. But that is of course based on whether or not you have faith in this group. Having Joe Douglas around helps, and I’m encouraged that the Eagles didn’t trade up to get Christian McCaffrey (because that would’ve been Jeffrey Lurie’s doing), but the Eagles’ draft record under Roseman is spotty at best, and in this case they certainly passed on some better talents to take a position they wanted. Building from the inside-out, rather than with wide receivers and running backs, is the way to go, and Barnett should step in and contribute right away. But, sometimes you want more from a first round pick.
Marcus Hayes wrote about the draft in a column that already had a sub-head and a hook by 11:16 p.m., when the Daily News’ back page was finished off, a little over an hour after the Eagles had made their pick and long before Marcus could’ve possibly finished his piece or perhaps even started it:
— Bob Vetrone Jr. (@BoopStats) April 28, 2017
The narrative comes built in and it sets Barnett up to fail– he’s sort of like Reggie White, so that’s his ceiling. Great.
The article the back page promotes, Hayes’, feels like its tone and theme was pre-written for generic defensive player who’s not Christian McCaffrey and then filled in later with the particulars. The headline? Eagles fans who booed Barnett shouldn’t have. How cutting edge. Poop face?
Some of the green-clad throng on the Ben Franklin Parkway cheered; some grumbled, eager for a Christian McCaffrey or a Mike Williams, weapons for Wentz. Most shrugged their shoulders, dropped their beers and went home, anticipating the demise of Dak Prescott and Eli Manning.
“It’s gonna be Barnett,” said Ray Sharkey, 52, who lives in the Fox Chase section of Northeast Philadelphia.
He had his hands on the shoulders of his son, Declan, an 8-year-old with no bedtime Thursday night. The NFL draft was in town and he’d just zip-lined with his dad and, as he stood, mesmerized by the spectacular temporary amphitheater on the Art Museum plaza, he was a little confused as to just who Barnett was and why the Eagles wanted him.
Clark didn’t love the Barnett pick, but he did boo, either. That was fortunate.
It would be sacrilege to berate the man who broke the college sack record of the Minister of Defense.
“He broke Reggie White’s record at Tennessee!” Sharkey said.
“He did?” Clark asked.
He did. White had 32. Barnett finished with 33.
“I realize what (White) means here,” Barnett said.
White means everything.
“That’s cool,” Clark allowed, “but we’ve got Graham, and Smith, and now him?”
I’m not even sure how to digest what the hell this is. But credit to Marcus for managing to reduce the entire Eagles fan base into two guys on the Parkway having a fourth-grade-novel exchange who apparently knew nothing about Barnett other than that he wasn’t McCaffrey but refused to boo him because hey, he could be just like Reggie White.
This is almost a parody of how the national media would cover what was a tremendous event in Philly. For real, the city looked great. The money shots on TV were perfect, especially as the sun went down and the lights went up. The crowd was thick and deep and filled the open spaces way better than you could’ve envisioned by looking at the setup. The boo was perfect– top 5 all-time boo. More: I think the nation got our tongue-in-cheek relationship with the boo last night. Goodell’s is everyone’s heel – all commissioners are – and Philly did its part well. Bonus points to NFL Network and ESPN– even though their pre-draft broadcasts were soaked with Rocky references like this:
If you blacked out after Kay Adams, just know that the rest of that clip was bad. But that was it– the actual broadcasts focused on the draft and the fans.
And for what it’s worth, Michael Strahan was really complimentary of Philly fans in that GMA clip. We did good.
H/T to reader Ryan
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 28, 2017
Me, on March 22:
Little birdie: The Eagles will take a defensive lineman in the first round.
— Kyle Scott (@CrossingBroad) March 21, 2017
I don’t like to pump my own piston… but, you could’ve saved yourself six weeks of absolute nonsense, sports talk radio hysteria and big-headed bloviation if you just followed me on Twitter (@CrossingBroad). I don’t know why you’d read any other site!
Here’s what Dan, who predicted the Eagles would draft Barnett in his first mock today, wrote about him: Continue Reading