On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Eagles spent the 14th pick of the NFL Draft on defensive end Derek Barnett. Was Barnett the right pick, and what does it mean for the rest of the team? Let’s take a look.
Did The Eagles Make The Right Move?
This year’s first round was one of the more unpredictable ones that I’ve experienced. I think there were a lot of reaches early in the draft. Corey Davis with the fifth overall pick to Tennessee was questionable. John Ross at the ninth pick to Cincinnati was outrageous. Personally I thought Christian McCaffery’s rise over the last few weeks from the bottom of the first round to the eighth overall pick was out of control.
The Eagles had a lot of good options on the board at 14. They passed on a lot of good football players to take Barnett at a position that wasn’t their largest need. I think the team could have possibly traded back and still gotten their guy. But that being said, I don’t by any means think that Barnett was a reach.
Barnett is a rock solid prospect with few holes in his game. He plays both the run and the pass, and should almost certainly step in right away as a starter on the Eagles’ defensive line. A lot of scouting reports on the guy rave about his upside. I think he’s going to be a fine addition to the defense.
The Eagles had a lot of guys underachieve on the defensive line last year.
Brandon Graham, for all of the credit and praise he’s received, only had 5.5 sacks last year. Three of which came in the first three games of the season, meaning that Graham managed only 2.5 sacks in the final 13 games of the season. That’s a terrible output.
Fletcher Cox had a subpar year after getting a huge contract extension. Vinny Curry was almost a complete non-factor. Connor Barwin wasn’t a fit in the 4-3 scheme.
The Eagles needed help on the defensive line. And Barnett is a perfect infusion of youth and talent to help the line improve on last year’s disappointing output.
Vinny Curry Will Never Get A Full-Time Role, And Marcus Smith May Be Out Of A Job
The Barnett pick puts an end to any thought of Curry getting a crack at a starting role, which makes the contract he was signed to a year ago look more and more like a bad one. The former second-round pick is getting paid starter’s money and won’t even play 50% of the snaps.
Meanwhile, former first-rounder Marcus Smith’s days as an Eagle will probably be numbered. With the additions of Barnett and free-agent Chris Long, Smith is at best fifth on the depth chart. Consider that there will also be competition from other sources in camp, I just don’t see how Smith fits in to the equation any more.
What Do The Eagles Address Next?
There’s still a great deal of talent that can make an impact for the Birds this season out on the board.
Cornerback remains the team’s most pressing need, and I do expect it to be addressed at some point tomorrow, but given what’s left on the board I think running back is the more pressing need that should be addressed first while top talent is still on the board.
I want the Eagles to come away from the second round with either Joe Mixon or Dalvin Cook. After that, corner becomes the priority.