Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles wisely bolster defensive line with SEC stud Barnett in first round

The first round of the NFL Draft provided plenty of excitement, Thursday night. Leading the way was a bizarre trade in which Chicago sent away their no. 3 pick, a third-round pick (#67), a fourth-round pick (#111), and a 2018 third-round pick to San Francisco to move up just one spot to number two overall for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Yikes. The top of the first round saw a huge run on offensive talent. Three QBs (Trubisky at 2, Patrick Mahomes at 10, and Deshaun Watson at 12) went in the first twelve picks – this in a year that many scouts have called an “off-year” for QB talent, and three wide receivers (Corey Davis at 5, Mike Williams at 7, and John Ross at 9) and two running backs (Leonard Fournette at 4 and Christian McCaffrey at 8) went in the top ten.

With many of the offensive players that the Eagles were rumored to have favored (McCaffrey, Davis, Ross) off the board by their place at 14, strengthening the defense was the smart choice. The Eagles selected defensive end Derek Barnett out of the University of Tennessee. Standing 6’3″ and weighing in at 260 lbs., Barnett racked up 32 sacks and 52 tackles for a loss in his three years terrorizing the Southeastern Conference.

In commenting on the Eagles’ selection, the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock said:

I love the energy. I love the toughness. People either loved or they didn’t like him because he didn’t have explosive measurables in the combine. But his tape is too good and I think the city of Philadelphia is going to love him.

Lining Barnett up with the likes of Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham will give QBs and offensive coordinators nightmares for years to come. It remains to be seen how Vinny Curry, who recently received an extension from the Eagles but hasn’t lived up to expectations, will fit into the DL’s rotation with this new addition.

In Rounds 2 and 3:

Expect to see sophomore QB Carson Wentz get some new toys (on top of previous additions Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith) and look for a cornerback to be selected, as well. Running back Dalvin Cook or receiver Chris Godwin would be great additions on the offensive side, while CBs Kevin King or Quincy Wilson would provide some desperately needed help in the secondary.