Derek Barnett continues to gain attention as the 2017 NFL Draft approaches. The latest projection from ESPN analyst Todd McShay has Barnett as a top-10 pick.
In a two-man mock draft with Mel Kiper, McShay projected the Tennessee defensive end as the No. 8 pick overall to the Carolina Panthers. That’s one of the highest projections Barnett has gotten throughout the pre-draft process.
“Barnett has some of the most impressive production of any pass-rusher in this class, considering the competition he played against (42 tackles for loss and 29 sacks vs. the SEC in three seasons),” McShay wrote.
There is still some disagreement about where Barnett will go. In the same mock, Kiper had him going No. 30 overall to the Steelers. In an earlier mock, he had him at No. 23 to the Giants.
But at least in the media, Barnett’s stock is undeniably rising. Pro Football Focus ranked him as the third-best overall player in this year’s draft class. After early projections pegged him as a late first-round pick and some scouts even questioned his NFL potential, things are trending upward for Tennessee’s all-time sack leader.
Barnett recorded 33 sacks in three seasons at Tennessee. He had 13 sacks and 20 tackles for loss last year.
The 2017 NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 27.