With the 2017 NFL Draft only a few weeks away, Pro Football Focus threw a new name into the mix for the Jacksonville Jaguars – Derek Barnett.
The Jacksonville Jaguars know what their board looks like at this point, as the combine and pre-draft visits have come and gone. Most people are projecting the Jaguars will take a defensive lineman (Jonathan Allen, Solomon Thomas) or a running back (Leonard Fournette) if they stay put at number 4. A few bold analysts have even thrown Deshaun Watson into the mix, and the Jaguars have fueled that fire by hosting the star Clemson quarterback for a visit.
One name most expect to go a little later in the first round is Derek Barnett out of Tennessee. We haven’t seen him projected as high as 4 to the Jaguars, but Josh Liskiewitz of Pro Football Focus thinks it might be a good fit:
"4. Jacksonville JaguarsDerek Barnett, Edge, TennesseeLike Allen, Barnett wasn’t overly impressive at last month’s combine. Also like Allen, he did his impressing on the field, as he put together three full years of outstanding film. He was even more productive than Garrett over the past three years, as he totaled 34 sacks, 187 total pressures and 117 total defensive stops between 2014 and 2015. The Jaguars defense is now stocked with talent on every level, but the addition of a pass-rushing stud like Barnett may be the final piece the unit needs to reach full potential."
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The rationale for the selection is perfectly fine – the Jaguars need pass rushers and Barnett is objectively the most productive pass rusher available. College production isn’t always the best way to measure prospects however, and it would be legitimately shocking if the Jaguars passed on Solomon Thomas (who slides all the way to number 13 in this mock, and that isn’t happening come draft time). Barnett is clearly a solid pass rusher, but there are questions about whether or not he’s “capped” out physically. Someone like Thomas is absurdly athletic and has the traits you want to see when you scout for edge rushers.
If the Jaguars end up trading back, I think Barnett could be in play. But at 4, it’s more likely the Jaguars take a Leonard Fournette than a Derek Barnett.