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Washington Redskins 2017 Draft Profiles: Derek Barnett, EDGE

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2017 Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Texas A&M Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Barnett, EDGE
School: Tennessee | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 20
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 259 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 1st round
NFL Comparison: Ryan Kerrigan

College Statistics

Player Overview

Derek Barnett is one of the top edge defenders in the draft because of his fundamentals and technique. Where those things stand out, in particular, are in his hand usage, the timing of the snap and subsequent burst off the line. Most of the time we project a prospect particularly an edge defender based on their athleticism and wish their pass rushing technique and hand usage was as refined as Barnett’s. Well projecting Barnett is sort of like doing the opposite. Personally, I think he is an adequate athlete to rush off the edge as a DE or OLB and I even liked what little I saw of him in coverage. Barnett doesn’t boast any elite athletic traits and he doesn’t do anything fancy, he just consistently beats his man off the snap, swats down some hands, turns the edge, and makes a play.

Strengths

  • Superb hand usage and placement, will fight through the block and swat hands to turn the edge. Converts speed to power well with his hands.
  • Times his jump off the snap well. A lot of his pressure and sack production come from him simply beating his man off the LOS.
  • Awareness, vision, and pursuit all good. Keeps eye on the ball and can crash and occupy a gap in run defense.
  • Has adequate athleticism for an EDGE prospect. Best with his hand in the dirt but can stand up and rush, play the run, and drop back into coverage.
  • High effort player with a great motor.

Weaknesses

  • No elite traits like twitch, burst, bend etc. that are usually coveted in EDGE rushers.
  • Will get caught offsides trying to time the snap.
  • Looks labored when he has to change direction.
  • Needs to develop a counter move and expand his array of pass rush moves. If he gets run around the quarterback how does he counter?

Let’s see his work:

Tennessee edge rusher Derek Barnett (illness) ran a 40-yard dash of 4.88 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday.

It is difficult to truly use this 40-yard dash as a gauge with Barnett, as he came down with an illness late in the week and did not participate in the bench press on Saturday. . .

- Rotoworld

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

I was watching Barnett and I was like "holy cow how is guy so good for being kinda average?”. I wanted to make sure his stats weren't inflated with the first few tapes I watched so I went to the game logs. There is nothing special about this guy, he just consistently produces week in and week out. I can see how people can be unimpressed, he’s no Myles Garrett. I can also see how people can be impressed, he’s a lunch pail player and just finds a way to get things done. Also when I was watching I got struck with a weird sensation of familiarity. It was like I had see Barnett before but I couldn't remember where, then I said, “fucking Ryan Kerrigan.”

Nearly everything about Barnett reminded me of Kerrigan. I’m really interested in him re-running the 40 when he’s not sick at his pro day at the end of the month. If he can get into the 4.7’s which I think he can my crackpot theory might be given a semblance of validity. The problem for the Redskins is that I would play Barnett in Kerrigan's place. Kerrigan is obviously not going anywhere for a while but I think in a base 3-4 defense he would most benefit from the exact role Kerrigan currently plays as a hand in the dirt/stand up rush LB/DE. The team doesn't seem to do that on the other side with Murphy and Smith with the same frequency that they allow Kerrigan to do it. Maybe with Manusky, that may change. I definitely think he’s better suited to play as a 4-3 DE in the league where he can rush on virtually every play but I do think he is more scheme versatile than other EDGE prospects in the draft. The Redskins might not bite on him but I think Barnett is going to one of those quiet production heavy guys in the league for years.