PFF scouting report: Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee

The PFF analysis team breaks down the prospects of Tennessee's Derek Barnett ahead of the 2017 NFL Draft.

| 3 months ago
(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

(Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

PFF scouting report: Derek Barnett, Edge, Tennessee


Name: Derek Barnett

School: Tennessee

Position fit: 4-3 defensive end or 3-4 outside linebacker if necessary

Stats to know: Ranked second overall among edge defenders in 2015 and third in 2016

What he does best:

  • Knows how to take out second blocker in run game
  • Good balance when rushing around the edge
  • Plays with good pad level in the run game, allowing him to shoot gaps, disrupt runs and break free on twists and stunts
  • Wins on first contact more often than not in the run game, jarring blockers backward
  • Can overpower tight ends when lined up at head up (6-tech), can be dominant run defender in that role
  • Excellent bend around the corner, big chunk of his pressures he simply gets lower than the opposing tackle
  • 45 of his 78 pressures came to the outside shoulder of the offensive tackle in 2016
  • Pressured quarterback on 20.0 percent of his rushes, well above the NCAA average of 10 percent.
  • Will jump the snap, good get-off on a number of his pressures
  • Good feel for cut blocks, can work through them and disrupt the short passing game
  • Capable spin move allows him to get inside offensive tackles

Biggest concern:

  • Doesn’t always shed as cleanly and consistently as needed in run game
  • Can get caught too far upfield on the front side of zone plays
  • Rarely wins with a bullrush; nearly every pressure came to the inside or outside
  • Can get moved of the ball against double teams

Player comparison: Greg Hardy, Panthers (on the field)

Like Hardy, Barnett may not always look like the classic edge defender, but he gets the job done by beating blocks in the run game and as a pass-rusher.

Bottom line: Barnett’s three-year production should not go overlooked during the draft process, though it’s likely that he won’t appeal to teams looking for a classic mold of edge defender. He knows how to beat blocks, disrupt in the running game, and get around the edge as a pass-rusher and his production should translate to the next level, even if he doesn’t have the classic look of a Myles Garrett or Jadeveon Clowney.

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  • Michael James

    I actually don’t think his production will really translate that good. Nearly all of his sacks come when he jumps the snap and beats the OT around the edge with speed and bending ability. I don’t see him doing that in the NFL on a regular basis.
    3-4 OLB is out of question for me, too, since his lateral movement in space is very poor. Combine drills will tell a lot here.
    He is by no means a bad player, I actually think he can become a solid NFL starter, but he’s no special talent in my honest opinion.

    • Hanzo

      ” Nearly all of his sacks come when he jumps the snap ..” You know, I think he’s a decent player, but you’re right, he won’t be able to get away with this as often in the NFL.

    • matthew morway

      He had one of the best 3 cone times at the combine which translates to short area quickness. His tape says it all.

      • Michael James

        Three-cone time is a measurement for the bending ability. I never denied that he can really bend the edge. In the measurements for explosion (broad jump and vertical jump) he was very mediocre alltogether. A bit better than average broad jump and a way below average vertical. The 20-yard shuffle, which actually measures short area quickness, was below average, too.

        All in all the combine really confirms what you can see on tape: A bendy edge-rusher who isn’t really explosive, but times the snap count very good. Not very good in space either (but not completely useless there).

  • Cameron Stewart

    20 years old, will be 21 at the start of the season. That means he racked up 33 career sacks in the SEC as an 18, 19, and 20 year old. I ordinarily ignore college stats, but that’s impressive. My biggest fear is a team puts too much pressure on him to be a star right away. Give him time and surround him with support and he’ll get there.

    • Hanzo

      I didn’t realize that. It is impressive.

    • Brigal99

      He uses his leverage incredibly well to go along with superior hand play. He will be a pro bowler in three years when he starts to mature and gets stronger.

  • Non Duo

    I’d appreciate it if you’d call Mickey Loomis and give him some advice on draft day!