During the 2014 NFL Draft, they Oakland Raiders selected Khalil Mack and Derek Carr. Since then, the Raiders have become the model of success for rebuilding teams. By snagging a defensive cornerstone and franchise quarterback to build their team around, Oakland has set itself up for long-term success. In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns will be looking to emulate Oakland’s success. Since the end of the 2016 college football season, Myles Garrett has emerged as the consensus top pick for the Browns. But what if he isn’t? What if the Browns want a quarterback with the top pick? If that becomes the case, who is there to be Cleveland’s defensive cornerstone with the #12 pick? Enter Tennessee’s star edge rusher, Derek Barnett.
Why the Cleveland Browns Should Draft Derek Barnett
Value and Draft Stock
As mentioned before, Derek Barnett is a great alternative to Myles Garrett. If the Browns were to pick Clemson star Deshaun Watson or hometown kid Mitch Trubisky, Barnett would be a great fit. Recently, reports have surfaced of Trubisky being Cleveland’s top pick. So let’s run through the possibility of that scenario.
With the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Mitch Trubisky. As the picks go by, Myles Garrett likes lands in Chicago. Moving further down, star safety Jamal Adams finds a home in Jacksonville. The man often seen as Garrett’s equal, Jonathan Allen, goes to the Panthers. With the 11th pick, the New Orleans Saints select Michigan’s Taco Charlton and finally, Barnett falls into Cleveland’s lap.
Even if the Browns become unsure that Barnett will be on the board, they have tremendous amounts of trade capital. Without a doubt, Cleveland could switch picks with the Carolina Panthers if they were worried about Barnett’s draft status. However, it looks like he could be there in the twelfth spot for the Browns.
Quickness Over Power
Admittedly, Derek Barnett is a bit undersized for a defensive lineman. At 6’3, 265 pounds, his size is…underwhelming. However, that opens another door for Barnett. Derek Barnett has made himself incredibly quick and he is full of finesse.
Barnett made a name for himself in college with his quick hands and finesse moves. AS his career went on, Barnett won nearly every hand-to-hand battle he had. Although he is not as long as Garrett or Allen, he is just as quick. If not quicker. His lateral quickness is second to none and definitely at an NFL-level. While power definitely does matter, no player is without his faults. Derek Barnett’s quickness is more than enough to make up for a minute lack in size.
Conclusion and Pro Comparison
Derek Barnett is a great alternative pass rusher if the Browns want a quarterback with the top pick. When looking at his film, he is incredibly quick and ready for the NFL. On the quickness front, he is just as good as Myles Garrett, if not better. Barnett is a blur of a rusher that quarterbacks will be fearing come next season. On the field, he looks and plays a lot like Cameron Wake and Vic Beasley. When compared to those guys, it is hard to deny Barnett’s potential. Certainly, he is ready to be a force in the NFL. Hopefully for Cleveland fans, he could be a defensive force on the Browns.