DE Derek Barnett Tennessee
6’3 265 lbs
I have heard a lot of hype the last couple weeks on Barnett. His name is discussed whenever someone brings up the top D-line prospects. I felt like I needed to take a deeper look. I honestly expected to be “wowed” while watching his tape. Don’t get me wrong, I saw some good things, just not as good as I expected. At times he can disappear once his outside move has been neutralized. While watching D-line players, I like to see speed or quick off the ball movement. Barnett is not that player. When you take a look at some of his stats from last season you really get excited, 12 sacks and 18 tackles for a loss. Those stats jump out! Impressive for sure. Quickly getting the O-line’s hands off him has given him an advantage that he did does not waste. This tough guy can stand an O-linemen up which lets him make plays in the run game. He reminds me of the guy who wants to make every play in your backyard games when you were a kid. I love that! When I see players flying around until the whistle, I get pumped up. That is one of those traits that is not taught. This guy can flat out kill people with his hitting. On a clear path, he can put you DOWN! No doubt in my mind, I would fall to the ground if I saw him coming at me. In the back of my head, I hear this little voice telling me, “He did lead the SEC in sacks.” Us older guys remember the great Reggie White…Barnett overtook the Reggie White in sacks which also sets the bar high. It is not only that quick burst that gives him sack opportunities; it is also his football IQ and relentless energy. Here you can watch his top 5 sacks on YouTube.
The Move to the Pro Game
If I were going to give this young man some advice, it would be simple; you need to develop more moves. The ability to win inside will be a game changer for him. An NFL D-Line coach should be able to get him more help on this. In the NFL, you are going to need to up your game, and if he works for it, he will get it. If I am the man in the chair on draft day, I would be a little skeptical of risking a mid to high first round pick on him. No question that he has talent and was an elite player in college, but the pro game can be rough if you are working with only one strong move. For a player who was always looking to get outside of the offensive tackle, he MUST learn to get inside more. The NFL combine will help or drop him come the NFL draft.
I am not buying at the price he is coming off rookie boards right now. As a top 3 IDP, you are convinced he will be an elite weapon. I would rather target Solomon Thomas or Jonathan Allen here. Another direction would be securing one of the top LBs before moving at Barnett. I understand I am in the minority on this, but these are my thoughts.
I LOVE IDP talk and enjoy playing in many style leagues. Get into a balanced scoring IDP league and let me know what you think.