Are we discussing the final 32 games for Barnett in a Philadelphia Eagles jersey?
It was never supposed to be this way. Never in life should a fan base be forced to rally behind their favorite team’s former first-round selection only to watch him wind up on IR (injured reserve) in Year 2 and regress in Year 3. It’s just too painful to watch. Yet in still, that’s exactly what ‘Birds’ fans have had to endure during Derek Barnett‘s first three seasons as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Time flies, and ever since the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ hosted the 2017 NFL Draft and surprised everyone in attendance by taking Mr. Barnett in Round 1, this former Tennessee Volunteers standout has gone on to rack up 72 total tackles and 15 sacks as a professional (those numbers include the playoffs). That isn’t going to do it if we’re talking about someone that was taken 14th-overall.
Heading into Barnett’s fourth season as a professional, it wasn’t that long ago that we were using words like ‘contract season’. Then, Philly threw us a curveball. They exercised Barnett’s fifth-year option seemingly with no hesitation. The questions now are what has he done to earn said option and will he ever live up to his first-round billing?
Here’s what we do know. We will, at least, see ’96’ in an Eagles jersey for 32 more games, and the team of head coach Doug Pederson and vice president and general manager Howie Roseman have drafted a defensive end in each of their four drafts with one another. That is if you include Casey Toohill who is a former Stanford Cardinal linebacker that the ‘Birds’ intend to move to defensive end. None of those defensive ends are stars.
The long and the short of everything is this. Barnett isn’t what we thought he’d be, and there’s no real indication that he ever will be. There’s a very real possibility that this may be Brandon Graham‘s final run with the ‘Birds’ and that we might be entering Barnett’s final 32 regular-season games with the Eagles. If that’s an accurate assessment, Philly may draft another defensive end in 2022. Here are ten potential prospects that come to mind if they’re interested.