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.