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April 28, 2017

Eagles' Derek Barnett on Schwartz's scheme: 'I love it ... that's my style'

Eagles NFL

On Thursday night, the Philadelphia Eagles took Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett with the 14th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. 

Following his selection, in front of his new hometown fans, Barnett joined members of the Philadelphia media on a conference call – his official introductory presser will be Friday at 4:15 p.m. at the NovaCare Complex.

Here's a full transcript of his Thursday night call with reporters:

Q. Hey, Derek, congratulations.

DEREK BARNETT: Thank you, I really appreciate it.

Take us through the moment you get the call and you find out you're going to be an Eagle?

Oh, I was waiting for the phone they provided for it to ring because everybody was getting calls on that one, and I kept looking at it and it wasn't ringing. And then my phone rang and I saw a Philly number, and I got very excited. I really can't explain it, because everything was happening so fast, but it was a surreal moment.

How much communication did you have with the Eagles going through the process?

I don't think it was a whole lot of communication. I thought it was pretty normal. I met with them at the combine. I had an official 30 visit with them, but I did that with a lot of teams. So I didn't know I was going to end up going to Philly. But I knew there was a possibility I could go there.

You're coming to a town where Reggie White was the all-time sack leader. You follow him at Tennessee, break his record. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Yeah, it's just very ironic. It's crazy how everything all plays out. I couldn't even get that I was going to come here and that Reggie White played here. You know what I'm saying? He's probably is the greatest person to ever play the game. It's just very ironic, and I’m just very excited.

How much do you know about the Philadelphia Eagles?

I know a good amount, actually. I know I'm coming into a great defensive organization, and also weapons on offense as well. Carson Wentz is a great leader, and a great ballplayer too. I'm going to be around a lot of great guys. I'm really excited to learn from them and get this ball rolling.

Do you think you're going to come in and contribute right away? What do you think you offer from day one?

Yeah, that's my plan. My mindset is to come in and help the team anyway I can. I know I have to come in and work hard and earn the respect of my teammates first. Just because I was a first-round pick doesn't mean nothing. I've got to work even harder now. My plan is to come in and get around the vets and learn from them. Hopefully when the season comes around, I can be able to contribute.

What are your thoughts of playing for Jim Schwartz as your coordinator with a reputation for such an attacking style?

I love it. You know what I'm saying? That's my style, and I fit it very well. Coach Schwartz does the same thing too. So I think it's going to be a good fit.

You grew up in Nashville, I guess. So are you familiar with Schwartz for his time with the Titans?

Yes, sir. I'm familiar with him. We -- I kind of know because his daughter goes to a school in Nashville I'm familiar with. So that's how I'm familiar with coach Schwartz.

Joe Douglas had compared you to Terrell Suggs just based on production with how things went with the predraft workout. Is that a comparison that you see? Who do you feel like you compare to on the NFL level?

I feel like that's a great compliment for me, because Terrell Suggs is going to be a Hall of Famer. He's a great ballplayer, and he has great hands. I like the way he plays with his demeanor. I think we are very similar with that.

Did the first round go like you thought it was going to before you got picked? It seemed like there was a lot of stuff that didn't go the way it had been predicted to go. Was there a team ahead of the Eagles that you definitely thought you were going to?

No, there wasn't. But I told myself going in to the green room, I wasn't going to get my hopes up. What I've been hearing, I was going to go between 8 and 20, so I had my mindset, that's pretty hard to guess. So I just went in with a positive mindset and told me not to get my hopes up and just be patient. Everything was going to play itself out.

I guess you didn't test as well as you probably wanted to at the combine on your pro day. What do you say about that and the numbers you put up during those tests?

Yeah, I didn't test as well as I wanted to. But I think when I step on the field I play a lot faster than I ran, and I have three years in college to back it up. And I think I was pretty consistent those past three years and I got better each year.

You had to play against a lot of those offenses in the SEC, and I know the pro level is different, but how much do you think that prepares you for this level?

I think it prepares me a lot. You know what I'm saying, playing against great competition, week in and week out. Got to play against Laremy Tunsil and Brandon Scherff, and those guys are in the NFL right now having great careers so far. Playing against guys like that I feel like it's going to help me get even more prepared. It has helped me while I make this next transition.

Is it fun to go to the team that's hosting the draft? You don't have to fly anywhere in the next few hours. Is that kind of cool?

Yeah, it's very fun. That means I can get to work quicker.

Tonight you got a chance to see a lot of the Philly fan base that was out at the draft. What do you think it's going to be like to play in front of them?

Great fan base. I've been feeling the love ever since my name to the called. I was a little nervous at first, I didn't know if I would get some boos. But I got a great welcoming. I appreciate the fans for doing that, because I had no clue where I was going to end up at.

Has it hit you yet that you have accomplished a life-long dream? Has it finally sunk into you yet?

No, sir, it hasn't sunk in yet. But I was saying earlier, that this is just one step to the journey. Just because I'm a first-round pick, you know what I'm saying, that don't mean nothing. I've still got to go in and work and prove and earn my respect from my teammates and coaches. Because I'm a first-round pick, there is a lot more to be done.

Who was on the phone when they called you?

The first person on the phone was the owner, and then Coach Pederson and Coach Schwartz. I talked to really everybody.


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