Derek Barnett 2017 NFL Draft Profile

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Position: Edge defender
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 259 pounds
School: Tennessee

Combine Performance Data

40-yard dash: 4.88 seconds
Vertical Jump: 31 inches
Horizontal Jump: 9 feet, 9 inches
3-cone: 6.96 seconds (5th among defensive linemen)
20 yard shuttle: 4.44 seconds

Derek Barnett 2017 NFL Draft Profile

Just like 2016, we find a defensive end at the top of the draft board. This year, the consensus top player is Myles Garrett. People have started to address players like Joey Bosa and Garrett as edge players. Derek Barnett is another of those top-level perimeter players this year. Barnett was a three-year wonder at Tennessee and finished his career as the all-time sack leader in school history. So who was the previous holder of that distinction? Reggie White.

Barnett’s primary strength was his hand fighting. He uses his hands and his 32 1/8 inch long arms to keep linemen off his body. Notably, the young pass rusher did not rest on his laurels and managed to improve each year. Additionally, he was named to the second team All-SEC in both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Barnett managed ten sacks in his freshman season and then followed that with an additional ten as a sophomore. Finally, after a 12 sack, 19 tackle for loss, 50 tackle junior campaign. Barnett was named to the AP First Team All-American Team.

The Combine numbers were not impressive, but there is far more to the story. Barnett arrived at the Combine suffering from an illness. Sadly, this illness forced him to reschedule all his interviews from Saturday. Still, Barnett arrived on Sunday morning and went through the drills. Barnett’s numbers generally fell below the top 15 among defensive linemen. The lone exception was three-cone drill where he ranked top five. Obviously, illness played a factor, but Barnett’s speed was not his greatest asset.

Barnett has good anticipation (though sometimes to his detriment as he accumulates offsides penalties). Furthermore, he has a great ability to bend the edge and get to the quarterback. Barnett’s three-cone drill showed a good ability to change directions. In play, Barnett did not accelerate out of his cuts very well. Additionally, Barnett has great strength and holds his point of attack well. Barnett may not make great backside pursuit, but he stays home and plays with discipline.


  • Great hands;
  • Holds edge against run;
  • Edge pass rusher with good upfield move;
  • Dedicated to his craft;
  • Played against high-level competition and produced;
  • Long history of production;
  • Played both left and right side of the line.


  • Average foot work;
  • Dependent on up field move does not change to inside rush quickly;
  • Average speed;
  • Played almost exclusively as a hand in the ground rusher;
  • Might be a bit right to play in coverage as a 3-4 outside linebacker.

NFL Comparison: Nick Perry, Ryan Kerrigan

Teams with Edge Rush needs: Cleveland Browns, Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, Miami Dolphins, Green Bay Packers

Projection: Mid-first round.

Bottom Line

Barnett has one of the most marketable abilities in the NFL: he is a pass rusher. Barnett will come in as one of the top three or four edge defenders in this draft. Most mock drafts at this point have him landing somewhere between the eighth and 22nd picks. There was very little to be gleaned from the Combine because of his illness. However, Barnett should have a valuable pro day coming up. Once he reschedules all his interviews, teams should get a clearer view. At this point we know that Barnett is a skilled pass rusher, though not as multifaceted as Garrett or even Solomon Thomas.