Derek Barnett

NFC Notes: Sweezy, Seahawks, Buccaneers, Eagles, Barnett

Guard J.R. Sweezy was only released earlier this afternoon, but speculation is already starting about where he could be heading next. Sweezy made it just two years into the five-year, $32.5MM deal he signed back in 2016 before he was cut by the Buccaneers. Both his years with Tampa Bay were injury plagued, but the interior lineman is still a good player when healthy.

As such, Sweezy should have some suitors despite still being injured as he continues to recover from a broken bone in his leg. A reunion with his former team, the Seahawks, is something that “would make a lot of sense” writes Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link). Garafolo adds that he’d be “a natural fit” and that he thinks it’s something the Seahawks will “explore.” There’s definitely some familiarity there and the Seahawks could definitely use some interior line help. It will be an interesting situation to keep an eye on this late in the offseason.

Here’s more from the NFC:

  • In addition to potentially looking at Sweezy, the Seahawks “will aggressively go after pass rushers who become available as training camp begins”, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. After the trade of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril‘s injury, the Seahawks are a bit thin at pass-rusher, so it makes sense why they’d look for some help from someone who might get cut in the coming months. Their one proven pass-rusher, Frank Clark, is looking for a new contract as well.
  • The cap space freed up from Sweezy’s release could be used to extend other Buccaneers veterans, according to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times (Twitter link). Auman thinks the added cap room could “certainly facilitate a longterm extension” for one of Kwon Alexander, Ali Marpet, or Donovan Smith. He adds that it “would be good for Bucs to lock one of them up before the season.”
  • Defensive end Derek Barnett was listed as the Eagles player most likely to have a breakout season in 2018 by Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com. Shorr-Parks writes that Barnett is the only Eagles defensive end “guaranteed to be on the roster in 2019”, and that because of that the Eagles will seek to get the 2017 first-rounder as much playing time as possible.

Extra Points: Safeties, Eagles, Peterson

With Eric Reid, Tre Boston and Kenny Vaccaro unemployed after 2 1/2 months of free agency, safety market’s served as a persistent talking about this offseason. One former defensive coordinator attributed this oddity to teams having difficulty placing values on modern safeties due to myriad responsibilities. An agent for a top safety has a darker view of what’s transpiring.

(Teams) are basically avoiding everyone because they’re ignoring Reid,” the agent told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. “That’s exactly how I am looking at it, absolutely. Our (client) hasn’t done anything like that in his past and neither have most of these guys. But that’s exactly what we think is going on here. They just shut the safety market down entirely, and the guy who got paid, by and large, didn’t make much.

It’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen that you can tell us that this group of safeties aren’t worth signing, period, at this point. And saying maybe some other guys have turned down $2MM or $2.5MM, but we have a pretty damn good safety and we haven’t even seen money like that on the table. I know for our guy, we haven’t had a contract offer at all; not one on paper and only one verbal offer, and that offer was for the league minimum with a split and no guaranteed money. So that’s not even an offer; that’s an insult. For these guys to have no jobs right now you can’t tell me ‘that’s just the market.’ That’s BS.”

“The guy who got paid” is likely Morgan Burnett, the other member of what was viewed by some as the top quartet. The Steelers signed him for three years and $14.35MM — 27th in the league in terms of AAV. Reid currently has a collusion grievance against the NFL pending, but Boston and Vaccaro are both in their primes and have received scant interest. Our Rory Parks asked PFR readers which of these players will sign first, and Vaccaro is winning that vote. Both Reid and Vaccaro appeared on PFR’s original Top 50 Free Agents list.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Adrian Peterson is also trying to fetch a contract, though age and injury concerns are likely to blame for his unattached status. Peterson mentioned the Texans and Saints again as possible fits while adding some other teams to the mix. Although, he hasn’t received much interest as of yet. “You know obviously I’ve mentioned Houston a couple of times,” Peterson said on a YouTube video (via Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk). “I feel like Green Bay wouldn’t be a bad look as well. Carolina. There’s some options out there. You know Miami. Down there in (Los Angeles). That would be a nice look, too, with Todd Gurley. You see around the league they have a two-back system. Guys are not really not pounding the ball 20, 30 times a game, so I think that leaves the door open for a couple of opportunities for me.”
  • The Eagles saw Jordan Hicks participate in individual drills during OTAs, per Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com. Hicks ruptured an Achilles’ tendon in Week 7 of last year but is believed to be ahead of schedule. After releasing Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles are counting on their middle linebacker to return.
  • Derek Barnett practiced fully for the Eagles, Kempski notes.. The second-year defensive end underwent sports hernia surgery shortly after the season ended, and it appears he’s recovered sufficiently.
  • An agent who represents some upper-echelon quarterbacks expects Aaron Rodgers to sign a deal that includes $110MM fully guaranteed within the contract’s first three years, and La Canfora writes that number may be low. Matt Ryan‘s $94.5MM in full guarantees represents the league’s current bar, and Rodgers, despite having two years left on his current Packers contract, should be able to demand a figure north of that.

Eagles DE Derek Barnett Underwent Surgery

Add Derek Barnett to the long list of Eagles players who will be recovering from surgery this offseason. Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com reports that the defensive end underwent sports hernia surgery following his team’s Super Bowl victory.

The reporter notes that the recovery period is only six weeks, and the surgery is intended to make the specific area of the body stronger. In other words, Barnett should already be close to full-health.

Following a productive rookie campaign, the 2017 first-rounder is expected to take on a bigger role with the Eagles in 2018. The Tennessee product finished last season with 21 tackles and five sacks in 15 games. He also scooped up a key Tom Brady fumble during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. The 21-year-old may start the season behind Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett on the depth chart, but he’ll serve alongside Chris Long as one of the top rotational defensive ends.

Kempski notes that the Eagles are likely to bring Barnett along slowly this offseason. A number of his teammates will be following a similar path, including quarterback Carson Wentz, offensive tackle Jason Peters, wideout Alshon Jeffery, linebacker Jordan Hicks, defensive end Timmy Jernigan, running back Darren Sproles, and safety Chris Maragos.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC Notes: Barnett, Ansah, Giants, Panthers

The Eagles have had many stars in their journey towards the top of the NFL this season, and one of those players has been rookie defensive end Derek Barnett. The team’s first round pick this past May has given Philadelphia another dominant pass rusher outside of Brandon Graham and has made the front office look even better, opines Geoff Mosher of the FanRags Sports Network.

Mosher points out that Barnett was viewed as the “safe” pick when the Eagles were selecting in the middle of the first round. He states that flashier draftees that the Eagles passed on, like running back Dalvin Cook, defensive end Jonathan Allen and linebacker Reuben Foster, have all had injury problems, making the choice to select Tennessee’s all-time sack leader even more brilliant.

At the moment, Barnett is simply a pass rushing specialist coming off the bench, but has already racked up 4.5 games even without getting the majority of the snaps. He trails team leader Brandon Graham by just 1.5 sacks with six weeks left to play. Barnett may not have been the sexy choice at the time, but he’s making the Eagles decision makers look even smarter because of what he’s adding to an already outstanding roster.

  • Lions star defensive end Ezekiel Ansah returned to game action for the team’s Thanksgiving tilt against the Vikings. Ansah is active for the first time since Week 9 when he injured his back on Monday night football. The 28-year-old has responded well from a down 2016 campaign with four sacks in just eight games this season. The news of his return is certainly a welcomed addition to a defense that ranks 20th in sacks in the NFL.
  • In regards to the late Thanksgiving game between the Redskins and Giants, the expectation that New York will have offensive lineman Jon Halapio make his first professional start at right guard, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com. The 26-year-old would be replacing D.J. Fluker, who has already been ruled out for Week 12 with a toe injury. The move represents another shift in the offensive line for the Giants, who had rookie Chad Wheeler make his first NFL start during the team’s victory over the Chiefs in Week 11.
  • In more positive injury news, Panthers star tight end Greg Olsen is continuing to make progress recovering from a broken foot he suffered back in September, reports Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). Rodrigue further notes that Olsen looks to be on track to return Sunday, which would be huge addition for an offense that already traded away Kelvin Benjamin and lost wide receiver Curtis Samuel for the season.

Eagles Sign Derek Barnett

The Eagles have signed their first-round pick, defensive end Derek Barnett, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). As the 14th selection, Barnett’s four-year contract is worth upward of $12.85MM, including a $7.49MM signing bonus.

Derek Barnett (Vertical)

Barnett starred in all three of his years at Tennessee, where he notched 52 tackles for loss and 32 sacks. Last season was his best, though, as Barnett made 19 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and took down opposing quarterbacks 13 times en route to first-team all-SEC honors. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com likens the 6-foot-3, 259-pound Barnett to Packers pass rusher Nick Perry, who posted 11 sacks in 2016.

With Barnett under contract, the Eagles have locked up all eight of their draft picks. Here’s a refresher on their other selections:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Fins Eyeing Derek Barnett, Charles Harris

The Dolphins have defensive ends Derek Barnett and Charles Harris high on their draft boards, league sources tell Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald, and would consider selecting either with the No. 22 pick.Derek Barnett (Vertical)

Miami does have other needs, and could consider other positions in the first round. In PFR’s live mock draft, for instance, I sent Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp to South Beach. Indeed, if Barnett and Harris are both off the board by the time the Dolphins’ turn comes around, the club may be open to targeting higher-rated players at positions other than defensive end, per Salguero. Edge rushers such as Michigan’s Taco Charlton and UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley don’t figure to interest Miami as much as Barnett or Harris, and the Dolphins may go another direction if those are the best defensive ends available.

The Dolphins “love” Barnett, as Salguero reported last month, and there’s a chance the Tennessee product could still be on the board at pick No. 22. Barnett posted 33 sacks over the past three seasons, and was a highly productive player at the collegiate level. Doubters, however, point to Barnett’s poor measurables which could indicate a lack of explosion. Harris, meanwhile, is shooting up draft boards after putting up 16 sacks for Missouri from 2015-16. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compares the 6’3″, 253-pounder to NFL edge rusher Connor Barwin.

While Miami re-signed Andre Branch and extended Cameron Wake this offseason, the club still desperately needs depth at defensive end. Wake is now 35 years old, and the only other pass rushers on the roster aside from Branch are 32-year-old William Hayes and Terrence Fede, the latter of whom hasn’t made an impact in three NFL seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

McShay’s Latest: Mahomes, Foster, Cook

Three quarterbacks are expected to be selected in the first round: Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), and Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), according to Todd McShay of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Cal’s Davis Webb is also reportedly a contender for a first-round slot, says McShay, though he could fall to the middle of Round 2. Watson, interestingly, has been more lauded by NFL clubs that aren’t in the market for a quarterback, per McShay, as those teams have praised Watson’s leadership ability and other intangibles. Trubisky and Mahomes, meanwhile, are seemingly more attractive to clubs that do need a signal-caller.

Let’s take a look at a few more highlight’s from McShay’s column, which is certainly worth a full read:

  • Mahomes, specifically, has been consistently linked to the Chiefs and Cardinals, says McShay. Both clubs are on the hunt for long-term options under center, as Alex Smith has shown a limited ceiling while Carson Palmer is entering the final stages of his career. The Texans have also been mentioned as a destination for Mahomes, as Houston head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly “loves” the Red Raider quarterback. If Kansas City is hoping to land Mahomes, it may have to trade up, as McShay doesn’t believe Mahomes will be available when the Chiefs pick at No. 27.
  • Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Florida State linebacker Dalvin Cook are both dealing with off-field concerns, but Cook could end up falling further down the board than Foster, reports McShay. At least one source tells McShay the Colts at pick No. 15 could be the eventual landing spot for Foster. Indianapolis is attempting a complete remake of its defense, so the club may be willing to overlook Foster’s issues in order to secure a top-notch ‘backer. If the Colts pass, the Redskins (pick No. 17) could also be interested in Foster, per McShay. Meanwhile, Cook will be “strongly considered” by the Buccaneers at No. 19.
  • The Saints could consider Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, or Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 11th overall pick, according to McShay. New Orleans has fielded one of the league’s worst defensive units for several years, so any sort of upgrade on that side of the ball shouldn’t be ruled out. Hooker isn’t expected to come off the board in the top five picks, but should be drafted between No. 6 and No. 13, per McShay. Reddick, meanwhile, is expected to be a top-15 selection and could even sneak into the top 10.
  • Houston pass rusher Tyus Bowser is expected to be a late first-round pick, sources tell McShay. Bowser, who managed 8.5 sacks last season, could conceivably appeal to a number of teams picking in the 20s or 30s. Speculatively, the Lions, Dolphins, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, and Saints could all use an edge defender late on Day 1.

PFR’s 2017 Live NFL Mock Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night, and Pro Football Rumors is back with its second mock draft of the year. While our initial mock attempted to project what will happen in Round 1, we’ve taken a different approach for mock draft 2.0.

PFR editor Zach Links and I conducted this live mock draft on Tuesday morning, rotating picks and breaking down what we would do were we in charge of these selections. We posted each pick on Twitter, followed by a short explanation of our thought process on this page.

Here’s the complete mock:

1. Cleveland Browns (Zach) – Myles Garrett, LB, Texas A&M

I suspect this is the easiest pick either one of us will make all day. Garrett is the best pure talent in this year’s draft and the Browns would be foolish to go in any other direction at the top of the draft.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Dallas) – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Reports that the 49ers are considering a quarterback with the second overall selection stand out as a potential smokescreen, and instead San Francisco uses the No. 2 pick to bolster its defense. Hooker, who recently earned a full medical clearance following combine rechecks, has been commonly linked to the Chargers as a perfect fit for Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme. But the 49ers are running the same defensive look as the Chargers under new DC Robert Saleh, and Hooker would give the team a centerfielder with the upside of an Earl Thomas. San Francisco’s plan to convert nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward to safety won’t stop it from adding Hooker, who is possibly the draft’s No. 2 overall prospect.

3. Chicago Bears (Zach) – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford 

Dallas’ bold pick left my Bears with a golden opportunity. The Bears could go safety or cornerback in this scenario, but the talent of Thomas is too good to pass up. Thomas can be used on both the inside and outside of the Bears’ defensive line and I see him as one of the safest talents on the board.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Dallas) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

No, we didn’t forget the Jaguars used a top-five pick on Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and then handed a $67.5MM contract to A.J. Bouye in free agency last month. But one of Ramsey’s key selling points last year was his versatility: while he’s a shutdown corner at his best, Ramsey can man the slot, cover tight ends, and dabble at safety. As such, adding Conley doesn’t mean Jacksonville is facing cornerback overload, especially given that NFL clubs are in the nickel more than two-thirds of the time. Conley is viewed as a safer prospect than his Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore, and he’d give the Jaguars a Broncos-like secondary.

5. Tennessee Titans (Zach) – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Titans, arguably, get the best cornerback available in the draft even though they are the second team to address the position. No, we don’t have a ton of film to go on for Lattimore, but his combine numbers indicate that he could be a megastar. Few teams in the NFL would have a young cornerback duo like the Titans if they can pair Logan Ryan with Lattimore.Mitch Trubisky Instagram

6. Cleveland Browns (projected trade with Jets) (Dallas) – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

In need of a franchise quarterback, the Browns send the No. 12 and No. 52 pick to the Jets in exchange for No. 6 with the intention of drafting Trubisky. It’s a slight overpay for Cleveland (at least, based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, which is likely what the Browns front offices uses), but it does the deal anyway to land a long-term option under center. Given that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reportedly pressing the club to select a quarterback early — and the fact the Cleveland may still be considering Trubisky with the first overall selection — landing the UNC signal-caller at No. 5 for the cost of a mid-second-round pick is a move the Browns can’t pass up.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Zach) – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

In this scenario, it seems like Allen’s subpar workouts have led to a bit of a drop. His size (6’3″) is a bit of a concern, but he has the ability to be an effective defensive end while spending some time on the inside as well. Allen would look great lining up on the opposite end of Joey Bosa.

8. Carolina Panthers (Dallas) – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Sitting at pick No. 8, the Panthers certainly have options. General manager Dave Gettleman & Co. could go after a running back like Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey, bring in a young edge rusher to play alongside veterans like Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, or even reach for an offensive tackle given Michael Oher‘s health questions. With Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown having defected via free agency, the Panthers need another wideout to pair with Kelvin Benjamin. Enter Davis, who topped 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Zach) – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster’s stock, by all accounts, is slipping after he turned in a diluted urine sample and got into an argument with a hospital worker at the combine. However, with other teams in the market for an inside linebacker (like the Jets at No. 12, for example), it would be somewhat risky to trade down into the teens and expect Foster to still be there. The Bengals have been willing to overlook character concerns in the past, so I see no reason why they can’t do the same here and land the Alabama star.

10. Buffalo Bills (Dallas) – Jamal Adams, S, LSU

While the Bills gave Jordan Poyer a four-year deal with $6MM in guarantees earlier this offseason, I’m still not convinced Buffalo views him as a definite starter. Those questions come to the forefront with Adams still on the board, and the Bills don’t hesitate to take the LSU defensive back. With ex-Packer Micah Hyde also in the fold, Buffalo can field one of the more diverse and flexible safety tandems in the league. Adams is viewed as a leader in the locker room, and has been favorably compared to former Cowboys All Pro Darren Woodson by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

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Draft Rumors: Mahomes, Texans, Cards, Fins

The Texans believe their visit with Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Sunday and Monday went “extremely well,” sources told Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Mahomes agrees, telling Chase Goodbread of NFL.com: “I feel like a lot of coaches like me, but especially coach O’Brien. I think my personality and how real I am, those are things beyond what I can do on the field that he likes. It seemed like the way I was answering questions, I think he knew that I knew what was going on. You can tell when coaches have a confidence in you.” O’Brien reportedly “absolutely loves” Mahomes, though there has been skepticism about the idea of the Texans using their first-round pick (No. 25) on the local gunslinger. If they do pass on a QB there, drafting a signal-caller later would seem likely. That could be Miami’s Brad Kaaya, whom the Texans met with Wednesday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). Kaaya is a mid-round-caliber prospect.

More draft-related news and rumblings:

  • Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer worked out for the Cardinals on Wednesday, according to Dianna Russini of ESPN (Twitter link). Arizona was already familiar with Kizer before Wednesday, having met with him April 10. The Cardinals own the 13th pick, with which they could take Kizer, though questions about his attitude and maturity might force him out of the first round. With veteran starter Carson Palmer set to take each Wednesday off during the upcoming season, Kizer or any other QB the Cardinals select will be in position to helm the first-team offense once a week in practice.
  • With the Kizer workout in the rearview, the Cardinals will turn their attention to a meeting with Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, tweets Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports 910. Like Kizer, Reddick is a prospective first-rounder. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com regards Reddick as the 20th-best player in this year’s class, noting he’s “a three-down linebacker with the versatility to play inside or outside depending on the scheme or game plan.”
  • The Dolphins “love” both Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett and Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp, reports Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald. Either could be possibilities for the Dolphins at No. 22 overall, though Salguero urges Miami to take Barnett if he’s still on the board, arguing that defensive end is a much more pressing need for the club than guard.
  • The Jaguars hosted Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson for a two-day visit earlier this month, and the team took another look at him Wednesday in the form of a workout, relays Rapoport (on Twitter). While Robinson will probably go in the first round, this is not a strong tackle class; thus, it seems unlikely the Jags would spend the fourth overall choice on him.

Draft Rumors: Mahomes, Texans, Humphrey

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien “absolutely loves” Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, according to one report, but Houston’s interest could be a smokescreen, writes Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com. Pauline spoke to sources close to the organization who pointed out that the Texans are in win-now mode, meaning they’re more likely to use their first-round pick (No. 25) on a player who can make an immediate impact than select a project like Mahomes. There’s also a sense that current starting signal-caller Tom Savage‘s familiarity with O’Brien’s system will enable him to successfully transition from a backup to a No. 1. As such, there’s a stronger probability of the Texans taking an offensive tackle or a cornerback than a QB with their initial pick, per the sources.

More draft-related news and rumblings:

  • “Several” clubs have concerns regarding Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey, notes Pauline. Specifically, they fear that Humphrey is too much of a straight-line defender and someone who’s only capable of playing in limited schemes. Those teams liken him to ex-Crimson Tide corner Dee Milliner, who, despite going ninth overall to the Jets in 2013, is no longer in the NFL.
  • Kansas State edge defender Jordan Willis was among the Ravens’ pre-draft visitors Tuesday, and Houston’s Tyus Bowser will meet with the team Wednesday, relays Albert Breer of The MMQB (Twitter links). Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com ranks Willis as the 49th-best prospect in the 2017 class – right in the vicinity of the Ravens’ second-rounder (No. 47) – and rates Bowser an even better 36th.
  • Missouri defensive end Charles Harris stock has risen so much that he could come off the board before Tennessee DE Derek Barnett, per Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Jeremiah places Harris 21st in his rankings and Barnett 13th, and PFR’s Dallas Robinson currently has the former going 26th overall and the latter ninth. Harris recently worked out for the Falcons, as he tells Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com.
  • Indiana offensive lineman Dan Feeney could be a late first-rounder or an early second-rounder, according to Pauline, who reports he has visited the Vikings, Bears and Colts. Feeney also has meetings with the 49ers and Rams on tap. The Dolphins have also worked out Feeney, per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, who adds Miami has also spent “considerable time” with Western Kentucky guard Forrest Lamp.