Once upon a time, before any of us knew who Derek Barnett was, another defensive end from the Tennessee Volunteers stole the hearts of Eagles fans.
Watching the Philadelphia Eagles draft Derek Barnett in round one of the 2017 NFL Draft reminds us that history has a unique way of repeating itself. Once upon a time, Philly was looking for a defensive end. They’d find their guy by reaching into the Tennessee Volunteers‘ bag. It may be hard to believe this now, but the Eagles took Reggie White with the fourth-overall pick of the 1984 supplemental draft.
Yes, the supplemental draft.
White, a man of his convictions, would spend eight years in Philadelphia before breaking the hearts of every Eagles fan, stating God told him he should move on and sign with the Green Bay Packers. 33 years later, Barnett enters the NFL with much more fanfare. It’s much too early to say this now, but there’s a chance that Barnett can have similar on-field success to the man that played at the same school he honed his skills. If he can, he’ll be loved by the city of Philadelphia forever. If he’s even close, he destined for long-term success.
The talent is definitely there. You’ve seen the stats. You’ve heard the debates, but nothing sticks with you like what you can witness with your own eyes. For that reason, we perused the internet and came up with a highlight reel we think you may enjoy. It’s provided by Cam Holt. You can check out his YouTube page by clicking here.
In 39 games played at the collegiate level, Barnett recorded 198 tackles (52 for a loss). That includes 33 sacks, placing him alone at the top of that category in his school’s record books. Throw in three forced fumbles and add an interception he corralled for good measure, and you have a resume many would kill for. Philadelphia adds him to a defensive line that already included Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry and Chris Long. Somewhere, defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is salivating.
A special added bonus:
As if you haven’t seen enough, we’ve added another highlight reel for good measure. It’s provided by Philly’s Finest Productions. You can check out their YouTube page by clicking here.
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When selected, there were a few murmurings. Many had hoped the Eagles might go with a cornerback or a running back in round one. Adding a defensive end wasn’t what some would consider to be a flashy pick, but it was solid. Seeing the Eagles add two corners in rounds two and three calmed the fan base a bit, and now we can all appreciate Barnett for what he is.
Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com reiterated, in his analysis of Barnett, that some scouts have him compared him to Shaq Lawson. The natural comparison, in the minds of many, is the one that brings up memories of the man who, 33 years earlier, blazed a trail through Knoxville. No Eagles fan will complain if Barnett’s professional career mirrors that of Reggie White.
Let’s just hope he doesn’t leave and win a Super Bowl with another franchise. Welcome to Philadelphia young man.