Today’s Philadelphia Eagles news looks at a young player who could be a key part of future plans, the end of the road for the Alliance of American Football and much, much more.
The Eagles have big plans for defensive end Derek Barnett. Barnett was the team’s first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, and he recovered a fumble as part of perhaps the biggest play in franchise history in the Super Bowl.
After a solid rookie season with five sacks and a forced fumble, Barnett was off to a solid start in 2018 with 2.5 sacks through four games. But he suffered a shoulder injury in Week 4 and was done for the year shortly after because of surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff. It was a disappointment.
But PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski dove into the numbers to look at how effective Barnett actually was, especially in light of the Michael Bennett trade. And he came to some interesting conclusions.
Kempski extrapolated Barnett’s numbers out over a whole season, and he would have finished with 52 tackles, 10 sacks, 16 tackles for loss and 28 quarterback hits. Those numbers are all better than what Bennett finished with except for the quarterback hits.
“Barnett is going to turn 23 in June,” Kempski writes. “He’s younger than some players who will be drafted at the end of the month. He’s already a legitimate starting DE in the NFL, and he’s only going to get better.”
Barnett, Josh Sweat and Daeshon Hall, plus practice squad player Joe Ostman, are the only defensive ends on the roster under 30. Barnett, obviously, has had the most success of that group, and he seems poised for more. The Eagles are expected to address edge rushers in the 2019 NFL Draft later this month. Barnett, though, seems like a potential cornerstone piece for the defense.