Derek Barnett will go down as a better player than Myles Garrett. I’m going to keep saying that every time I mention it until people accept it. The guy was better in the SEC than Garrett, and he’s the best pass rusher in Tennessee football history.
The guy is just a baller, and that’s what you want in a defensive end. His heart and intelligence matter more than anything. And he’s the perfect type of Vol to draw comparisons to the great Reggie White. Yes, you should believe in him that much.
After recovering the fumble to clinch the Super Bowl for the Philadelphia Eagles this past year, Barnett already got a taste of being a major impact player. But before that, he had already recorded five sacks on the season, forced a fumble, and recovered two fumbles, one of which he returned for a touchdown.
On top of that, Barnett had 18 tackles overall. And it’s worth noting that, like his time with the Vols, his best play came in meaningful games. Four and a half of his five sacks were either against playoff or divisional opponents, and the other half sack was against the Seattle Seahawks.
You could also point out that Barnett picked up a sack in the playoffs. Add in the fumble recovery in the Super Bowl that we already mentioned, and the idea is clear. Barnett is a playmaker in big games and comes up huge when it matters.
This year, Barnett is going to have a second-year surge. People will start talking about him as a Pro Bowl guy and potential defensive player of the year. The sack machine will explode, and the only question will be why we didn’t have him No. 1 here. But then we’ll turn to a teammate of his.