With the 11th pick in the 2017 CSC Community Mock Draft, the New Orleans Saints fans voted to select:
Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee (6-foot-3, 259-pounds)
It was between Barnett and Haason Reddick in the voting process, and fans went the safest route in choosing the Volunteers defender. We ran a poll to get the most important position for the Saints to address prior to the player poll, and the unanimous choice was defensive end. We’ve talked plenty on Barnett and his abilities, so here’s some of the best ‘what you need to know’ on him.
He brings the ability to provide a quick burst off the snap while bending at the point of contact to get low enough to elude an opposing offensive lineman. He has finesse and technique that is very desirable, and something defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen could obviously perfect. Pro Football Focus grades Barnett as their second-highest edge defender right behind TAMU’s Myles Garrett.
Per their draft guide, Barnett had the fourth-highest pass rush productivity (or PRP) of all FCS competition. Perhaps the most glaring stat is that he was credited with 78 total quarterback pressures, which was tied for third behind Utah’s Hunter Dimick (83) and Kansas State’s Jordan Willis (80). Florida Atlantic’s Trey Hendrickson tied Barnett with 78. Barnett was also credited with 24 hits and 41 hurries on opposing quarterbacks in 2016. PFF also notes that Barnett pressured the quarterback on 20 percent of his rushes, well above the NCAA average of 10 percent.
Barnett’s elite traits aren’t straight line speed or a nasty first step, but rather his violent hands and relentless motor. He also has tremendous flexibility and balance (‘bend’ if you will) for a man of his size.
Barnett can go through or around offensive tackles, and because he is a player who wins with power and technique over burst it’s easier to expect him to be able to produce in the same way at the pro-level. That isn’t to say you should expect him to match Reggie White numbers in the pros like he did in college, but expect him to win several snaps a game right off the bat. Also, his ability to apply pressure can cause quarterbacks to move up into the pocket and into the waiting arms of the Saints’ interior rush, which is suddenly potent with Nick Fairley and Sheldon Rankins.
I compared Barnett’s combine to Taco Charlton who is also a popular Saints pick among fans. Statistically he performed well in comparison to Charlton in the 40-yard dash (4.88 seconds vs 4.92 seconds) and the 3-Cone drill (6.96 seconds vs 7.17 seconds).
Barnett’s 3-Cone drill ranked 5th among all defensive lineman. The 3-Cone drill is designed to evaluate a players agility, quickness and fluidity. It is an important drill as it pertains to a defensive end. Rather than show their straight line speed, it shows their ability to change direction and their flexibility/ability to turn the corner at high speeds (hence Barnett’s ability to bend the edge).
If all goes well for Barnett’s transition to the NFL, look to Terrell Suggs as a rare example of excellence from someone with their height/weight/speed profile. Like Barnett, Suggs had a bad combine and bombed his timed workouts like the 40-yard dash (Suggs ran an official 4.84-second time, while Barnett ran 4.88-seconds). But the Ravens stuck with their film evaluation of Suggs and he became one of the NFL’s most-prolific pass rushers, logging eight or more sacks in ten of his thirteen seasons. If anyone can experience a similar career path to Suggs, it might be Barnett.
Do you agree with the Saints taking Derek Barnett?
This poll is closed
Community Mock Draft Results
- Cleveland Browns - Myles Garrett, DE, TAMU
- San Francisco 49ers - Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
- Chicago Bears - Jamal Adams, S, LSU
- Jacksonville Jaguars - O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
- Tennessee Titans - Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
- New York Jets - Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
- Los Angeles Chargers - Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
- Carolina Panthers - Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
- Cincinnati Bengals - Jonathan Allen, DE, Alabama
- Buffalo Bills - Tre’Davious White, CB, LSU
- New Orleans Saints - Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
The Cleveland Browns are on the clock!