It’s well known that Tennessee junior defensive end Derek Barnett will likely be a first-round pick this April.
But could he go as high as the top five?
The junior defensive end, who broke Reggie White’s UT career sack record (33) and finished with 13 sacks and 19 TFLs in 2016, is listed as the No. 3 overall prospect on Pro Football Focus’s postseason draft board.
“It’s an SEC 1-2-3 at the top of this draft class, with Barnett pushing Myles Garrett close for the nation’s top edge defender in each of the past two seasons,” PFF wrote. “His 62 total pressures, including 12 sacks and 18 hits, from the defensive end position give him a pass-rushing productivity rating of 14.9, good for the sixth-best mark at the position in college this year, while he has been a solid run defender in each of the past three seasons too.”
Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling said in November that he would fully endorse Barnett to any NFL scout.
“Absolutely,” Stripling said when asked if Barnett will be a good pro. “I tell NFL guys, ‘You want this guy on your team.'”
Garrett is listed as No. 1 on the PFF postseason draft board, while Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen is listed as No. 2. Six total defensive ends/edge rushers from the SEC are represented in the top 20 with Alabama’s Tim Williams (15), Auburn’s Carl Lawson (17) and Mizzou’s Charles Harris (20) also making the cut.