Derek Barnett will breakout in 2018 for the Philadelphia Eagles. There are many reasons to arrive at this conclusion, which we will take a look at throughout this article. Barnett showed star potential at times during his rookie campaign last season. Take for instance, the huge fumble recovery in the Super Bowl that helped secure victory for the Eagles over the Patriots. Without further ado, lets break this down.
Why Derek Barnett Will Breakout in 2018
In order to understand what Barnett is capable of, lets first revisit his high school career. He played at Brentwood Academy, a private school outside of Nashville, TN. Rivals.com rated him as a four star recruit. During his senior year, he registered 66 tackles and 18 tackles for loss. In addition to that, he also recorded 5.5 sacks. Barnett really took his game to the next level in college however.
Barnett went from Brentwood Academy to play for Butch Jones and the Tennessee Vols. He made his presence felt in the SEC right away. In fact, he set Tennessee true freshman records with 10 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss during the season. Those are incredible numbers! On top of that, Barnett, along with Myles Garrett, broke Jadeveon Clowney’s SEC freshman sack record, which was eight. He was certainly not done there. Barnett became Tennessee’s all time sack leader, tallying 33 during his career. That accomplishment becomes even more impressive when you realize that the record previously belonged to Reggie White.
Overall at Tennessee, Barnett accumulated 198 tackles, 52 for loss, along with an interception. He also forced three fumbles to go along with those 33 sacks during his three seasons in Big Orange Country.
After Barnett was finished with his career at Tennessee, he was selected 14th overall by the Eagles in the 2017 NFL Draft. He managed to register 21 tackles along with five sacks as a key reserve as a rookie. Additionally, he forced a fumble while recovering two, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Expect the productivity to significantly increase this season.
The Eagles Defensive End Situation
The Eagles have a bevy of options at defensive end. Michael Bennett switches bird uniforms, coming from the Seattle Seahawks to join the team this year. Brandon Graham and Chris Long were productive starters last season. Josh Sweat is another promising young player who is trying to work his way into the rotation. With all of that being said, the Eagles depth chart currently shows Barnett as one of the starters. It is important to note that Bennett’s skill has noticeably diminished in recent years. Why is that important? Simply because it means that Bennett’s presence should not interfere much with Barnett’s playing time. During the offseason, Barnett has demonstrated marked improvement in many facets. He has gotten stronger. His technique has improved. This further solidifies the fact that Derek Barnett will breakout for the Eagles in 2018.
Derek Barnett’s Game
Certain characteristics practically jump off the screen when the tape is being observed. Barnett’s repertoire of moves, athleticism and creativity are incredibly impressive. His power and leverage will be a huge part of his game as he progresses along with his speed. Standing six feet three inches tall and weighing 259 pounds, he has great size. What are some other traits?
He is flat out relentless
Derek Barnett shows a relentless style every time you watch him play. He has a motor that never stops running. Whatever he has to do in order to reach the quarterback, he will do it. Within reason of course.
He is powerful
Barnett showed tremendous power at Tennessee. He also began to display that characteristic as the season progressed for the Eagles last year. He will run sideways through a lineman if he has to in order to make a play. Or he will simply run through them. This offseason, he has been working on further developing his power moves.
Competitiveness is on another level
Derek Barnett flat out wants it more than the other guy. His undeniable desire and passion show through when you watch him play. It is quite obvious in fact. No one can question this mans work ethic. Not only does Barnett want it more than the other guy, he will also outwork the other guy. When those factors are in tandem, along with great talent, it creates a potentially unstoppable force.
Another key to his success is the veteran leadership and experience around him. Learning from the aforementioned Chris Long and Brandon Graham over the last year is invaluable. Gaining the experience last season as a reserve while being able to make important plays was instrumental in his development. There are plenty of reasons to think Derek Barnett will breakout this season. Are you convinced?
Last Word on Derek Barnett
The realistic expectation for Derek Barnett from a production standpoint should be no less than double digit sacks. In fact, 15-20 sacks is completely attainable. If he manages to finish in that range, an All Pro selection is probable. The talent, technique, desire and everything else you want in an elite defensive end are there. Yes, Derek Barnett will breakout in a huge way for the Eagles in 2018!
High school stats acquired via: https://247sports.com/Player/Derek-Barnett-24009/high-school-38500
College stats acquired via: http://www.cfbstats.com/
Pro stats acquired via: https://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/B/BarnDe01.htm
Main Image Credit:Embed from Getty Images