Though Tennessee DE Derek Barnett was one of college football’s most dominant players over the last couple of years, some NFL scouts don’t think that will translate to the next level.
Barnett recorded 32.0 sacks and 52.0 tackles for loss in his career, including a career-high 13.0 last season. According to NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein, however, some scouts don’t think Barnett is fast enough off the edge to have the same success as a pro.
“He’s physical and he’s got great production,” an AFC North scout told Zierlein, “but some scouts just don’t think he’ll be able to translate those numbers to the pros because he’s not very explosive off the ball.”
Zierlein, who analyzes draft prospects for NFL.com, disagrees with that assessment after watching Barnett’s film.
While he has reservations about Barnett’s explosiveness, Zierlein thinks other aspects of his game can make up for those issues. He thinks the former Vol will be “a good pro starter.”
“Pass rushing on the pro level isn’t only about speed and edge-bending–it’s also about strength and hand skills,” Zierlein wrote. “Barnett takes efficient routes to the quarterback and his ability to stand up as a run defender should not be underestimated.”
Barnett declared for the 2017 NFL Draft on Jan. 3, forgoing his final season of eligibility.