Eagles sign Derek Barnett
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - The Eagles now have their entire 2017 draft class under contract after agreeing to terms with first-round pick Derek Barnett.
The 14th overall pick, Barnett signed the standard four-year deal with a fifth-year team option. The contract is worth $12.61 million with a $7.3 million signing bonus.
Tennessee's all-time sack leader Barnett is expected to bolster the Eagles' pass rush and the rookie has spent OTAs mixing in that the right end position behind veteran Vinny Curry.
"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 guy has, that's going to get your attention pretty quick," Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said when discussing Barnett earlier this week. "[He] played right away as a true freshman at the University of Tennessee, was productive game-in and game-out. He's really tough. He's got a great center of balance. He's not on the ground very much. He's got some things to work on, like any rookie. But he was an effective player. I think that against all competition he was consistent from game to game. 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."
Barnett is taking the praise in stride and trying to learn everything he can from the veterans on hand at his position, including Curry, second-team All-Pro Brandon Graham and free-agent pickup Chris Long.
"I’m not looking ahead,” Barnett said. “I am just here doing my work day by day. Things move fast and our days are filled, so it makes no sense to look ahead. I’m glad to be here learning from guys like Chris Long and BG (Brandon Graham) and Vinny (Curry). Those guys have been great to work with. They show me how much more I have to learn.”
Schwartz is expecting immediate dividends come September, however.
"It's our job to get him ready to be out there," the DC said. "But we're really excited about him. He can turn a corner and be like this high [very low] 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."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen