Draft Profile: Derek Barnett
Overview: Derek Barnett is a true junior from the University of Tennessee. The 20 year old pass rusher not only set the Tennessee record for sacks in a career -- he did it in only three years and the guy whose record he broke . . . you may have heard of him -- it was none other than the "Minister of Defense" Reggie White. Barnett had a magnificent college career and based on production alone would likely be the most impressive pass rusher in the draft. But we all know production isn't the be all and end all when it comes to projecting players to the pro level. He's widely viewed as one of the top five defensive lineman in the draft and could be the third one off the board come draft day.
Pros: Monster production in college. Barnett recorded at least 9 sacks in every season he played at UT and finished his career with a school record 32 career sacks and 52 tackles for loss. He played against elite competition regularly in the SEC and was rarely slowed by anyone. His high motor and work ethic will serve him well in the NFL. So will his hand use and his ability to overpower offensive lineman. But he's no one trick pony. Barnett has a diverse set of moves for such a young player and is impressive not only as a pass rusher but also a run defender. He also shows the ability to drop into coverage. At 6'3'' and 265 lbs. Barnett is big enough and strong enough to hold up against even the biggest of maulers on the offensive line.
Cons: Barnett isn't quite as tall as a prototypical pass rusher and he doesn't have the truly elite athleticism that you see from guys like Myles Garrett, but most don't. He'll need to become more polished moving forward (who doesn't?) and may struggle with the length of some of the elite tackles in the NFL. There really isn't a whole lot not to like with Barnett, but as a guy with a thicker type of frame he may not be able to move laterally in run defense as well as some scouts would like. The biggest issue here is really just a lack of elite athleticism, but by no means is he a "bad" athlete, he just isn't on the level of a Myles Garett or Jadaveon Clowney athletically.
Buy or Sell: Sell - This sell has a contingency. If the Jaguars were to move back a few spots in the draft to acquire more picks then Barnett makes plenty of since. He's a young, gifted pass rusher that also shows the ability to be a solid run defender. So, if the Jaguars stay at four I say pass because there are other guys that are more physically gifted than Barnett who will be available at four, but again if the Jags moved back then Barnett would be a fine selection. His high motor and work ethic would be a sight to see lined up next to the likes of Malik Jackson and the rest of the Jaguars talented defensive line. I think Barnett will have a fine pro career.
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