With the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books, let’s take a look at who will have the biggest immediate impact for the Philadelphia Eagles in the upcoming year.
Well, that’s a wrap! The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone and with the new additions to the team, the Philadelphia Eagles are obviously ready to win Super Bowl 52!
Okay, that might be a stretch, but the team did make significant improvements to their roster. They made eight total selections, using five on defense and three on offense. The Eagles were able to support their franchise quarterback with a few explosive playmakers and give defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz new toys to play with. Now, the focus will shift to who is going to have the biggest immediate impact in 2017. The Eagles were able to come away with some quality potential starters, but I believe Derek Barnett will make the biggest impact for the Eagles right off the bat.
I already know—”Real original, go with the first-round pick!” I agree that it is very “chalk” to go with the first-rounder, but that is why you select someone that early. You use your most important pick on the player that you think can provide an instant boost. Day 1 guys are almost always expected to contribute immediately. There are definitely exceptions to this, but I would say that, for the most part, it holds true.
What to expect?
In the NFL, one of the biggest clichés is, “you can never have too many pass rushers.” In this case though, it’s true. Ask the Atlanta Falcons what happens if you can’t rush the passer in late-game situations. A deep defensive line rotation allows teams to generate consistent pressure all game long. Fresh legs in the fourth quarter can be the difference between winning and losing. Inserting Barnett into the mix will allow the Eagles to have a set rotation where no one guy gets too gassed.
The Eagles were plagued at times by not being able to get enough pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This asked a very average secondary to lock up their assignments for an extended amount of time. As we all know, they were unable to, and quarterbacks had a field day. Having consistent pressure forces quarterbacks to either make bad decisions or just throw the ball away.
Barnett made a living as a three-year starter at Tennessee on generating pressure. He had at least 10 sacks in each of his three seasons, most of which came against top SEC competition. He may have been a bit underrated through the process because he didn’t “look” the part. But make no mistake, the kid can get after it.
Current Defensive Line Picture
The Eagles have versatility along their D-Line, which means they can move Barnett where they need him. The Eagles could go with a speed rush package where they slide Vinny Curry into the 3 technique, and Barnett takes the edge. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham would then be left on the other side to wreak havoc. This doesn’t even factor in Chris Long, Timmy Jernigan, or Marcus Smith. The different packages that will be available to the team are almost too many to count. Make no mistake, the Eagles and Jim Schwartz will find a way to get Barnett on the field.
The Eagles, by all accounts, had a great draft. They addressed serious areas of concern while adding quality depth pieces who should turn into contributors down the line. Of all their picks, I personally think Barnett will have the biggest immediate impact. Pass rushers are a premium in the NFL and the Eagles got themselves a great one. If you aren’t familiar with Barnett yet, you will be.