Derek Barnett is the newest Philadelphia Eagle.
He’s a talented pass-rusher from Tennessee and will join Fletcher Cox as a centerpiece of the Birds’ potent attack on the quarterback.
After being selected in front of more than 70,000 fans at the Philadelphia Art Museum, Barnett had many fans, and many detractors too.
“It wasn’t a bad pick,” South Jersey’s Cody Berry, who waited in front of the stage for seven hours to get in the front row. “It will be nice to go with [Brandon] Graham at the outside and probably was the best available pick.”
University City’s Neil Galauski was a little more timid about the choice, but was still excited about the newest member of the Eagles defense.
“We needed pass rush I love it,” Galauski said. “He broke Reggie White’s sack record in college. It was a vanilla pick. I kind of assumed it was going to happen.”
The makings were in place for Philly to nab a top defensive prospect, after an unexpected early rush on offense left players like Reuben Foster, Jonathan Allen and Barnett ripe for the taking. But Keith Howard, an Eagles fan who traveled to Philadelphia from New Orleans to watch his favorite team select a player was not nearly as satisfied.
“They went in the wrong direction I don’t understand it man,” Howard said. “Reuben Foster, that’s who I wanted. They do the same thing every year it’s just frustrating. They could have taken [RB] Dalvin Cook too.
“This guy better come in and get 10 sacks this year. It’s Graham all over again. We have to stop making picks like this.”
Barnett is excited to be an Eagles despite the well-known criticism he’ll no doubt experience in his career in Philly. He says he has the mental toughness — paired with the physical skills that made Eagles scouts compare him to Terrell Suggs — to succeed here.
“I did a lot of studying.” Barnett said shortly after getting drafted. “I feel like that’s my edge. I have to get an advantage mentally and I feel like throughout my career thay’s what I did.”