Barnett Battles Through Illness To Work At Combine

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    Photo Credit: Mason Burgin/RTI

    With one of the biggest and most pressure-packed job interviews imaginable coming up, former Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett had the unfortunate break of getting a virus in the days leading up to his scheduled workouts in Indianapolis.

    It held him out of the bench press on Saturday, but Tennessee’s all-time leader in sacks wouldn’t let it keep him off the field on Sunday.

    Barnett went through the gauntlet of drills in Indianapolis, putting up respectable numbers in several drills despite the illness. Checking in at 6-foot-3, 259 pounds, he posted a 4.88 second 40-yard dash time, a 31-inch vertical leap, a 117-inch broad jump, a 4.44 second 20-yard shuttle and a 6.96 second three-cone drill – good for his fifth among all defensive lineman in that testing.

    Barnett’s numbers across the board certainly didn’t stack up to some other defensive linemen such as potential No. 1 overall pick defensive end Myles Garrett from Texas A&M. And that’s why scouts, ultimately, favor a player like Garrett as a prospect over Barnett despite the fact that Barnett was a more productive player at the college level.

    But Barnett’s also not the type of player that will pop out physically, rather he’s a smart, high-motor competitor who finds ways to get to the quarterback and make big plays, regardless of what the stopwatch says.

    He’s settled in as a likely mid-first round selection, and while his numbers didn’t pop off the screen on Sunday, the fact that he was willing to go through the drills and still put up some respectable marks despite his illness is another testament to his competitiveness.

    And on the subject of fighting through adversity, former Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin worked his way back from a major shoulder injury last season to at least be able to work in the positional drills on Sunday. He looked smooth running around as a linebacker, and while his injury history and less-than-ideal size (6-0, 230 pounds) will likely prevent him from being a high pick, he still has a great chance to be drafted.

    Tennessee skill players Joshua Dobbs, Josh Malone and Alvin Kamara went earlier in the weekend, while cornerback Cam Sutton is scheduled to go through on-field drills on Monday, the final day of the combine.