Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Philadelphia Eagles DE Derek Barnett has shown flashes of what he can be as an edge rusher, but he has not been able to stay healthy, and partly as a result, his production has left a little to be desired, at least for a player chosen with the No. 14 overall pick in 2017.
When Barnett missed almost all of training camp as well as the Eagles’ Week 1 game against the Washington Football Team with a hamstring injury, followed by an unimpressive debut against the L.A. Rams, the thinking was, “Welp, here we go again.”
However, in the last two games, Barnett has been a disruptive presence. In Week 3, he had a pair of sacks against the Bengals. Those looked better in the stat sheet than they did on the field, but he was disruptive nevertheless. In Week 4, Barnett got the better of seven-time Pro Bowl LT Trent Williams.
A look at Barnett’s night:
1) Barnett is the RDE in all the clips below. Here he wins at the point of attack, pushes Williams into the backfield, cutting off the running back, and forcing the holding call.
2) Straight bull rush. This is not Barnett’s greatest strength, but as you can see, he owns Williams here, though he has to share the sack with Javon Hargrave.
3) Barnett gets yet another big push on Williams into the backfield, forces the running back wide, and combines with Nate Gerry on the five-yard loss. That’s just as good as a sack.
4) Barnett gets doubled here, and while he does give some ground, he’s able to get off of the tight end and make a physical tackle.
5) And finally, you’d like to see Barnett finish this play and create a TFL, but he does a great job slipping Williams’ block and hitting the back in the backfield. Usually these types of plays become losses anyway, because it gives the rest of the defense time to make a play. Here, that’s not the case, and actually, this might have been a big run if Barnett doesn’t at least mess up the timing of this play, as the Niners otherwise had hat-on-hat at the second level.
The Eagles need for Barnett break out this season, with a now 32-year-old Brandon Graham starting opposite him. This is just one game, and while Barnett is capable of stacking multiple good games on top of one another, he actually has to, you know, do it. If he can, Barnett is a strong candidate for a contract extension this offseason.
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