It’s a Make-Or-Break Season for Derek Barnett
Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett was drafted 14th-overall in the 2017 NFL Draft. Barnett made an immediate impact with 21 tackles, 5 sacks, a forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries his rookie year in limited playing time, playing in 43% of the teams possible snaps.
The Eagles have brought in a new defensive coordinator for the 2021 season, Johnathan Gannon, meaning Eagles fans should be excited to see if Barnett can reach that 14th pick status.
However, it’s been a disappointing run for Barnett since see he got her with injuries and inconsistency plaguing him since he's been here and now it’s time to put up or shut up for the 24-year old pass rusher.
Barnett underwent sports hernia surgery shortly after the Eagles' Super Bowl victory after his rookie season and was off to a solid start in 2018, with 2.5 sacks in 234 snaps, before a torn rotator cuff ended his season after just six games.
He has shown flashes of what he can be, like in his rookie season he had a pair of two sack games, one against Washington and one against Dallas. In 2018 during weeks three and four, Barnett tallied 2.5 sacks before an injury ended up ending his season. In 2019 he had 3.5 sacks over a five week span and in a 2020 Week 3 game against the Bengals, Barnett logged two sacks, four tackles, including two for a loss.
With 12 sacks in 27 games over the past two seasons, it’s time for Barnett to prove he was worth the 14th-overall pick.
Its time to find out if Barnett can be the heir apparent to Brandon Graham, or handed his walking papers at the end of his contract.
Not every pass rusher gets to play with other great players immediately, however, Barnett has had the fortune of playing with Graham and Fletcher Cox since entering the league.
The team exercised its fifth-year team option for 2021 on Barnett last season, so the time for excuses is over. If Barnett doesn’t take his game to the next level this season, its likely it will never happen with the Philadelphia Eagles.
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