Philadelphia Eagles debate table: Has Derek Barnett peaked already?

Derek Barnett (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Derek Barnett (Photo by Lisa Lake/Getty Images for SiriusXM) /
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Philadelphia Eagles
Derek Barnett #96, Fletcher Cox #91 (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

If you’re a Philadelphia Eagles fan, you have to admit this guy can be something special.

Some guys have “it”. Some guys don’t. Regardless of what you have to say about Derek Barnett or how frustrated you might be with where he is in his career, there are a few things that you can’t discredit. He belongs in the NFL, and since his entry into the league, he’s been a key part of some of the more memorable wins of the Doug Pederson era.

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Sure, the Eagles rolled over the Minnesota Vikings in that NFC Championship Game that sent them to Super Bowl 52, but there were moments where the game was in question. With 3:25 remaining in the first half, the Vikes were scrimmaging from the inside the Eagles’ 17-yard line on third-and-five during a drive that could have ended with Minnesota evening the tally on the scoreboard.

The “Birds” were up 14-7. Barnett got to Case Keenum on a sack-fumble that was recovered by Chris Long.

Two minutes and seven seconds later, Nick Foles throws the bomb to Alshon Jeffery. Philly tacks on another field goal and another touchdown on a flea-flicker from Foles to Torrey Smith and the game was never in question again. It was Barnett that shifted the momentum in Philly’s favor for good.

Fast forward, and it’s Barnett recovering a fumble on one hop following the greatest strip-sack in NFL history during Super Bowl 52. Have you ever thought about what might have happened had the New England Patriots recovered Tom Brady’s fumble? The strip-sack wouldn’t have mattered, would it?

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Derek Barnett has had his moments. He’s also been the author of a game-ending sack on Andrew Luck in Frank Reich’s return to Philly as the Indianapolis Colts head coach among other things. Never question whether or not Derek Barnett can play. We know that he can play. To be honest, that may be where our frustration with “96” comes from.