Former Vol defensive end and recent first-round draft pick Derek Barnett is already drawing praise from his teammates at the Philadelphia Eagles’ organized team activities.
According to Matt Lombardo of NJ.com, Barnett “showed impressive get-off and bend during battles against the likes of Dillon Gordon and veteran right tackle Lane Johnson” during Philadelphia’s OTAs. Lombardo also noted that Barnett was “consistently getting into the backfield and applying pressure on quarterback Carson Wentz during his first full NFL practice. ”
But Lombardo’s observations weren’t the only positives from Barnett’s first full practice as an NFL player. Barnett’s own teammates had plenty of praise for the rookie defensive end as well.
Lane Johnson, a five-year NFL offensive lineman, said Barnett’s “lean” was his best attribute and that Barnett “had the best lean in the draft.”
“He was compared to Myles Garrett,” Johnson said of Barnett. “His get off might not be as fast as Garrett’s, but his lean and his bend is probably the best I’ve seen in a while. He’s a great pickup for us.”
Dillon Gordon, a second-year offensive lineman for the Eagles, also praised Barnett’s bend, saying Barnett “can bend very, very well” while also calling Barnett “very agile.”
Then there’s eight-year veteran defensive end Brandon Graham who remembers what it was like as a rookie defensive end trying to break into the league. Graham had Trent Cole as a teacher and teammate, and Graham wants to be the same for Barnett.
“He can bend,” Graham said of the new Eagles rookie. “He can definitely get around those tackles. Now it’s just about working on his technique and getting him up to do exactly what the coaches want to do, so when the game comes, he can feel comfortable and interpret what they have been teaching him, in addition to what he already knows.”
Barnett owns Tennessee’s career sack record with 33 sacks in his three years as a Vol. Barnett also amassed 52 tackles for loss and 31 quarterback hurries. Barnett was taken with the 14th overall pick in this year’s NFL draft, becoming the first Vol to be taken in the first round since 2014.