Eagles DC Jim Schwartz Sees Plenty of Positives in Derek Barnett
It didn't take long for Eagles first-round pick Derek Barnett to make an impact during his college career at Tennessee.
A three-year starter at Tennessee, Barnett played as a true freshman, making 36 starts. In the process, the first-round selection broke Reggie White's school record for sacks, made 52 tackles for loss and earned first-team All-America honors in 2016.
It was that production that got Barnett drafted 14th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in April.
"Well, anytime you turn around and look at that number 92 [Reggie White mural in NovaCare Complex auditorium] back there, anytime they can break any record that that guy has, that's going to get your attention pretty quick," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz last week at his press conference. "[He] played right away as a true freshman at the University of Tennessee, was productive game-in and game-out."
The Eagles just hope the 20-year-old continues making an impact as he transitions to the NFL game. His defensive coordinator, sure sounds like he thinks Barnett shouldn't have a problem making the jump.
"We're really excited about him," Schwartz admitted.
"He can turn a corner and be like this high off the ground. You guys will notice that when you see him out there. He's also been giving great effort in practice. We've pointed out his effort a couple times – chasing the ball and those kinds of things. For a rookie to do that kind of stuff has been pretty impressive so far."
The relationship between Barnett and the Eagles is heating up pretty fast. With the team participating in OTA's the past few weeks at the NovaCare Complex, the defensive end is opening eyes.
Schwartz described Barnett's versatility, plus his ability to stop the run and rush the passer as the reasons the Eagles targeted him in the draft.
"I think that against all competition he was consistent from game to game," Schwartz explained. "He's tough as can be. He's good against the run and good against pass – played right and played left. All those things led us to draft him."