Eagles camp: Derek Barnett is learning a ton from Jason Peters


It must be great to be Eagles rookie defensive end Derek Barnett.

Well, there’s one rookie that we’re certain isn’t in danger of not having a spot on the Philadelphia Eagles roster. Who would have thought trading quarterback Sam Bradford with less than two weeks to go before the start of the 2016 NFL season would have earned the Eagles the right to draft Derek Barnett with the 14th-overall selection, but that’s exactly what happened.

Now here we are, and the rookie has some pretty high expectations, from fans, coaches and himself. What’s largely been lost during most of the excitement is the fact that the rookie will get to hone his skills against a future NFL Hall of Fame inductee in practice, Jason Peters. Apparently so far it’s been must-see television.

Here’s some of what the rookie has to say:

"It’s exciting. Going against somebody who’s going to be in the Hall of Fame. It’s only going to help me get better. He’s a beast, so it’s going to help me a lot. When we get into the season and I start playing games, it’s only going to help me get better."

The prospect of having the rookie learn from, arguably, the greatest offensive tackle in Eagles history (no disrespect to Al Wistert) has defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz licking his chops.

Here are some of Schwartz’s thoughts:

"He’s going to have the duty to meet every challenge that comes along. He’s been up for it so far. He had a really good rush against [Peters] yesterday. It was maybe one out of four, but it still was there. We’re excited about it."

Peters isn’t backing down, but neither is Barnett.

Barnett, during minicamp, had the dubious task of trying to get around Lane Johnson. On some occasions (when he dipped his shoulder to turn the corner), he had success. On others (when he tried a bull rush), his efforts were met with minimal success. Still, the rookie is taking all of the workload he’s been given in practice with stride.

"Your technique has to be good going against them. I can’t give away none of my tips. I have to make sure all of my rushes are the same. They’ve gone against great guys and they’re really good and their strong and athletic, so they can move really well. It’s just me not giving away no ticks and closing the space between me and the tackle as quickly as possible."

The rookie has been soaking up as much knowledge as possible from Peters whenever there’s a break in the action or whenever he can speak with him off of the field. Everyone’s trying to keep things in perspective, but it’s hard not to get excited about the guy who broke the Tennessee Volunteers‘ sack record, a record that was previously held by Reggie White.