PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There’s a lot of ‘yes sir, no sir’ to Eagles’ 2017 first-round draft Derek Barnett, and that came out when Barnett met the Philadelphia media on Friday for the first time.
Barnett, a 6-foot-3, 259-pound Tennessee defensive end, doesn’t want to wait behind anyone. His intention is to come in and start now.
“I’m not going to sit back and wait my turn, but I’m going to come in and learn my role first and get around these vets and learn what I have to do first to get on the field,” said Barnett, who broke Reggie White’s career sack record with the Vols with 33 career sacks. “Me being a first-round pick doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t guarantee me a spot. I still have to come in and work and gain respect first.”
Barnett, 20, made an early impact at Tennessee. He had 10 sacks his freshman year for the Vols.
“Coming in freshman year, I was just playing,” Barnett said. “I really just came in and told myself I was going to play hard every down, and then from my freshman to junior year the game slowed down for me, and I just got better as a ball player mentally.
“Today I woke up, came over to the stadium, toured the stadium, then came to the facility, met the coaches, and this day has been fun for me. I’ve enjoyed myself. I can’t wait until we start rookie camp and get around ball some more.”
Joe Douglas, vice president of player personnel, and Howie Roseman, the Eagles executive vice president of football operations, were very high on Barnett, who believes he still has areas to improve.
“My eye discipline,” Barnett said. “Sometimes I like to put my eyes in the backfield too fast before defeating my block, so I think I need to continue to work on my eye discipline. Focusing on my work, making sure I’m beating my block, so if I’m going against a tight end, making sure I’m beating him first before I put my eyes in the backfield.”
When asked about compensating for the lack of athleticism compared to some other defensive ends, Barnett said, “I think my get-off is pretty good, and I can bend well. But I think mentally that’s where I separate a little bit. Preparing for a game, and a lot of people don’t see that, but you have to prepare for a game so you can go in and dominate.”