Here's what the top TV analysts at ESPN and NFL Network had to say about Derek Barnett after the Eagles drafted the Tennessee defensive end with the 14th pick of the first round.
Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN
You think about production... in the SEC, unmatched. I mean, unbelievable week to week what Derek Barnett was able to do... Boy, he has great hand usage, and he can close, despite only having 4.88 speed at the Combine.
Doesn't have the length, the long arms you would want, necessarily, but the way he plays football, boy, he works these offensive tackles. He schooled these tackles in college. The question is, can he do it in the NFL? He doesn't have the length, as I said. Only that 4.88 closing speed. But Terrell Suggs only ran only ran a 4.88 coming out of Arizona State. Terrell Suggs had great production in the Pac-12, like Barnett had in the SEC.
That's what's you're hoping if you're the Eagles: that he won't just be a great college player who runs into serious resistance in the NFL and is just average, and is neutralized. You're hoping he can translate college to the NFL like Terrell Suggs did with the Baltimore Ravens.
Jon Gruden, ESPN
Well, Jim Schwartz, the defensive coordinator, plays this wide-nine defense. They get in these four-point stances and they get off the ball. They key the ball, and they get off the ball extremely fast, and they disrupt plays. and that's what you see from Barnett.
The strength of his game is his quick get-off. He's going to get down low in these four-point stances, and he's going to win with his stance and his get-off. That's where most of his production comes.
He can play right defensive end. I've seen him go over to the left side. But when you see 29 of his 33 sacks [in college games came] against SEC opponents, most of them are because of this great get-off. And it's impressive. This man is relentless. I spent a lot of time in Knoxville. He loves to practice. And when you surpass the Minister of Defense [Reggie White] as the all-time sack leader in Knoxville - great pick for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Louis Riddick, ESPN
There's no question that the Eagles believe they can get value at cornerback here later on the draft, because it's a huge need. But I'll tell you this: if you pair this kid up with Fletcher Cox on the inside, that's one of the ways you can help soften the blow of not having great corners at the back end. If you've got guys who can set sack records like this, who can time up the snap count, play in that [wide] nine technique, and get off the rock. So, great pick for them.
Mike Mayock, NFL Network
One of my NFL comps for Derek Barnett is Brandon Graham, who's the other starting defensive end for the Eagles. Keep in mind, the Eagles have Vinny Curry, who was a little bit of a disappointment last year, and they signed Chris Long in the offseason.
But this guy broke Reggie White's longtime sack record at Tennessee, with 33 career sacks. I love the energy, I love the toughness. People either loved him, or they didn't like him because he didn't have explosive measurables in the Combine. But I think his tape is too good, and I think the city of Philadelphia is going to love him.