Round 1, Pick 28
Position: Defensive End
Height: 6’3” Weight: 259lbs
Key Stat: 20.5 tackles for loss
It was shocking to see Derek Barnett available when pick No 28 rolled around. Once seen as a top-10 guy, his draft stock took a hit when his combine performance was found wanting. Slower times hurt his fit as a possible outside linebacker on 3-4 defenses.
His hand work is among the best in the draft and his production as a pass-rusher and run-stopper is unparalleled. Barnett is a talented, work-hard every-down, complete player. A great match for a Rod Marinelli defense.
His 4.88 sec 40-time combined with 6.96 sec 3-cone are more than enough to thrive as a defensive end on a 4-3 defense like the Dallas Cowboys. Mel Kiper recently had him falling to the Giants at pick No 23, so seeing him at No 28 probably isn’t as surprising as first thought.
On the board at the time were these notably attractive options: DE T.J. Watt, DE Taco Charlton, DE Tak McKinley, CB Teez Tabor, CB Quincy Wilson, and OT Forrest Lamp.
There was a run on defensive backs (both cornerbacks and safeties) and offensive tackles. The pass-rushing options were clearly significant. I was hoping for either Watt or Charlton to fall and ended up with them, plus McKinley and Barnett.
Both Tak McKinley and T.J. Watt are better options at RDE but Barnett is by far the best player on my board so I count my blessings and make the pick.