Eagles’ draft direction will highlight where the team stand on Derek Barnett


In the midst of all the offseason chaos, one Eagles player will be entering his fourth season in hopes that his 5th-year option is picked up. Derek Barnett had a decent season for the Eagles, but was it enough?

He finished the 2019 campaign with 6.5 sacks in 14 games after missing 9 games in 2018. Barnett had his moments in the spotlight, both good and bad. At times he looked like the pass rusher that was worth a first-round pick. Other times, he simply didn’t.

Barnett had 2 forced fumbles, 22 QB hits, and 10 tackles for a loss. With those numbers, the Eagles should feel secure with what the future holds for 96. If that’s the case then there should be no reason to think that he may be the odd man out, right?

While the world will continue to speculate on which receiver the Eagles will draft in the first round, maybe it may fair to give a little history lesson on the Eagles tendencies vs “historically see classes”. For the last three years whenever there has been a position of need that was followed by a deep class in the draft, Howie and company have gone against the current and ridden their own wave.

In 2017, the face of the draft was the running back. In what was a uniquely deep class, the Eagles didn’t select a running back until the 4th round. If you can’t remember who it was, Donnel Pumphrey may ring some bells.

In 2018, the focal group were the defensive backs and once again, the Eagles didn’t select one until the fourth round. Luckily it was Avonte Maddox. Then in 2019, the Eagles went for JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the second round while players like D.K. Metcalf, Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin, and several others were still on the board.

The point being is that the organization has a weird habit of going against the trending position to take advantage of a weakness they have. While they may not be able to risk that this offseason, it still makes you wonder about the possibility. If A.J Espinosa or Yetur Gross-Matos is still on the board and they haven’t been able to draft a wideout, would the birds think about drafting an insurance policy over trusting in Barnett?

Derek Barnett has a lot to prove in 2020 and it all starts with his ability to turn his dominant potential into a dominant pass rusher ability. The Eagles invested the 14th overall pick in Barnett and now it’s time to pay up. With Brandon Graham getting up there in age, the reins are there for Barnett to take over but he has to want it more.

Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports