October 25, 2017
Through the first six games of his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles, rookie DE Derek Barnett had flashed ability at times but had not yet made much of an impact on the stat sheet.
Heading into Monday night's matchup with the Washington Redskins, he only had 7 tackles, a sack (actually just 0.5 sacks since he had to share his sack with Justin Hamilton), a fumble recovery, and two tackles for loss.
On Monday night, Barnett finally made an impact on the stat sheet, as he had two sacks and a tackle for loss.
When the Eagles made him the 14th-overall pick in April, Barnett was just 20-years old. Most of the players taken in next year's draft will be older than him. While he has yet to dominate, Barnett looks the part of an eventual good starter in the NFL.
Let's take a look at some of his better moments from Monday night, in chronological order:
You can't block Barnett with a tight end. This is a bad idea.
Here's Barnett going up against Trent Williams, and he beats him to the outside. This pass rush doesn't look special, but somehow he gets around a player some feel is the best left tackle in the NFL.
How did Barnett beat him? With his hands. Watch how Barnett is able to smack Williams' arms down. Once he wins that battle, it's all over. Williams is beaten.
Williams was forced to hold Barnett, which went uncalled, and the Redskins actually scored on this play.
Here Barnett sheds Williams' block, Williams ends up on the ground, and Barnett gets the tackle for loss.
In college, if we're going to be blunt, Barnett's spin move stunk. But, all throughout OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the preseason, it is something that he worked really hard at improving. On Monday, Barnett absolutely left Williams in the dust with an excellent spin move.
Of course, as you'll see here, he gets planted by the LG after his spin successfully leaves Williams blocking air, but this is impressive nevertheless.
Barnett's bread and butter pass rush move at Tennessee was his outside rush, where he had an outstanding bend around the edge. A concern was that he does not have much in the way of an inside counter move to capitalize on offensive tackles over-setting to stop the outside rush.
Developing additional moves is something Barnett has worked hard at, and it showed Monday night.
Later in the game, working against TJ Clemmings, Barnett wins with another spin, but again, the LG makes a great play to come off of Beau Allen and give his beaten LT some help.
Barnett gets a sack here, but it's not really that impressive of a rush, right?
Wrong. It's subtle, but this is a great pass rush. Above we showed how Barnett won against Williams by knocking his hands down. Well, you can also win by pushing the offensive lineman's hands up. As long as you can get their hands off your body, it's a win. In the slow-mo version, you can see that Barnett pushes Clemmings' hands up off of him, and it's over. He's toast.
When scouting reports leading up to the draft talked about Barnett's "hand fighting," this is what they were referring to. It's harder than it looks. Keep in mind that Barnett is going full speed up the field, while he is forklifting the offensive tackle's hands off of his shoulders. This is highly impressive technique for a kid that just turned 21.
There is a lot to be excited about with Derek Barnett.
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