The one position I’m most concerned about on this football team is defensive end. Yes we have veteran Brandon Graham and former first round pick Derek Barnett lining up at the defensive end spot, but we will be playing without 16 sacks from a year ago. Michael Bennett was traded to the Patriots and veteran Chris Long retired.
I think Graham is a good football player, but he’s never had a double-digit sack year. He’s always been very active in spite of that stat. I’ve seen Graham create sacks for his teammates, or force a quarterback to throw the ball away.
Barnett is a talented young man with tremendous potential, but he’s never dominated for an entire season on the NFL level. He’s going into his third season after suffering a season ending shoulder injury, which required surgery after a good first third of the season. I’ve found him to be focused and driven. He’s shown flashes that he could be as good as they need him to be this year, but he’s got to go out there and do it.
I said all of that to emphasize the importance of the backups at the defensive end position. They need Josh Sweat, Vinny Curry or Joe Ostman to explode on the scene. I interviewed Sweat and he’s confident he can make a difference.