Grading every Eagles first-round draft choice during Doug Pederson’s era
Derek Barnett never validated the first-round selection the Eagles used to acquire him.
In the 2017 NFL Draft, Philadelphia was looking for a guy who could create trouble for opposing quarterbacks, and they thought they found that player by drafting Derek Barnett out of the University of Tennessee 14th overall in the first round.
Barnett broke Eagles legend Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee. Now, he played 39 games and White played 22, but hey, a record broken is a record broken. Philly’s hope was he could impress as a pro.
His rookie season wasn’t bad. He tallied 21 tackles, five sacks, one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, and one of those fumble recoveries was returned for a touchdown. He also recovered the fumble caused by Brandon Graham’s strip-sack of Tom Brady in Super Bowl 52.
The former Tennessee alum’s best season came in 2019 season. He racked 30 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles in 14 games, but the other side of that coin is he has only amassed 21.5 sacks in 65 career games with 45 starts.
Two other defensive ends taken in the first round of the 2017 draft, Myles Garrett and Jonathan Allen, have collected 74.5 and 33.5 sacks respectively. The other issue is this. Josh Sweat, a 2018 fourth-rounder, has proven to be a much better player.
Sweat has added 28.5 sacks to his resume during his five-year career, and has been more durable. Barnett has only a full season once in his career.