Eagles Introduce Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett - Eagles / Credit: UT Athletics

Eagles Introduce Derek Barnett

Derek Barnett – Eagles / Credit: UT Athletics

Former Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett was formally introduced by the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday, less than 24 hours after he was selected by the organization with the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Barnett spoke with local media members for almost 15 minutes after snapping a few quick photos holding his new Eagles jersey, officially donning the number 96.

A full transcript of Barnett’s comments can be found below.

(On having a strong work ethic and humility instilled in him at a young age)
“Yes sir, I think it was. My mom raised me, so she taught me to always stay humble and to put your head down and just work. She’s worked a lot. I’ve seen her work up to three jobs when I was younger, so I think I get that attitude from her.”

(On meeting defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz before the draft)
“I came in for a 30-visit and I had a great meeting with him. Actually the Eagles were my last visit so I was here not too long ago, about a week and a half. It’s kind of ironic that I ended up in this city.”

(On how the meeting went with Coach Schwartz)
“The meeting went well. It was more about him just getting a feel for me and me getting to know him more. He also thinks I can fit their system very well. Playing that Wide 9 line and come off the edge because I have a good get-off. He thinks I fit the system well and I think I fit it well too.”

(On how playing in the SEC helped him be a better pass rusher)
“I think it was very good. I played against a lot of great tackles. Laremy Tunsil, Brandon Scherff, Cam Robinson. I played against a lot of great tackles week-in and week-out. You win on Saturdays, celebrate on Sundays, but Monday you have to get back to work. I feel like it’s going to be the same way in the NFL.”

(On whether he is going to be impatient and want to get on the field immediately)
“I’m going to sit back and wait my turn. I’m going to come in and learn my role first and get around these veterans and learn what I have to do first to get on the field. Me being a first round pick doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t guarantee me a spot. I still have to come in and work and gain respect first.”

(On his letter to NFL GMs published by The Players’ Tribune)
“I just thought it was a great way to express my feelings. My mom thought it would be a good idea to get the letter out as well. I thought it hit the media at the right time.”

(On where he picked up his pass-rushing skills)
“Just great coaches. Starting in middle school, high school, and Coach Stripling in college. I’ve been around some great coaches. I’ve worked with Chuck Smith. Really, all of my coaches have just modeled me into the player I am today.”

(On his ideal playing weight in the NFL)
“Wherever Coach tells me I need to be at, I’ll make sure I’m at that weight.”

(On whether gaining weight would slow him down)
“I don’t think so.”

(On his mom working three jobs and who helped raise him while she was at work)
“My mom works at UPS. She works in the factory so she is on her feet a lot moving boxes. She also waited tables. She raised me, even though she worked a lot she was still always there and made sure I had everything I needed.”

(On feeling pressure after being compared to Reggie White and Terrell Suggs)
“No sir, I don’t feel any pressure. I take it as a compliment. Terrell Suggs was a great ballplayer — going to be a Hall of Famer. And Reggie White was probably one of the greatest defensive linemen to play the game so just for me to be compared to those two is really a blessing.”

(On getting on the field at Tennessee as a freshman and how he’s developed since then)
“Coming in freshman year I was just playing. I really just came in and I told myself, ‘I’m going to play hard on every down.’ And then from my freshman to junior year the game slowed down for me. I just got better as a ballplayer mentally.”

(On his first day as an Eagle)
“Today I woke up and came over to the stadium, toured the stadium, came over to the facility, met the coaches. This day’s been fun for me. I’ve enjoyed myself. I can’t wait until we start rookie camp and get around ball some more.”

(On the area of his game he wants to improve upon the most)
“My eye-discipline. Sometimes I like to put my eyes in the backfield too fast — before defeating my block. So I think I need to continue working on my eye-discipline.”

(On how to improve eye-discipline)
“Focusing on my work, making sure I’m beating my block. So if I’m going against the tight end, making sure I’m beating him before I put my eyes in the backfield.”

(On if any current Eagles have reached out to him)
“Fletcher Cox reached out to me. He told me how he likes his steaks cooked. That was a warm welcome to the team. That was on Twitter. But there was a few other guys that reached out to me. Carson Wentz did. Everybody’s been showing me love and I really appreciate it.”

(On if he has had the opportunity to meet Sara White, Reggie White’s widow)
“I’ve not Sara White, but I’ve talked to her on the phone a few times. She lives in Nashville so when I get the chance I will go over there and meet with them. But Reggie White, in Knoxville, is a legend. He’s all over the place in the state of Tennessee.”

(On what motivates him to play with an edge)
“I just love football. I love everything that the game brings. I love the contact. I love playing with 10 other guys on defense. I just love everything about it.”

(On the other defensive ends he watched growing up)
“Recently I like watching Michael Bennett play. I like his demeanor. He uses his hands very well. When I was younger [I watched] Michael Strahan — one of the best to do it. So I look up to a lot of those guys.”

(On how he came about speaking with Sara White)
“She gave me a phone call about a week after the bowl game, after I broke the record. She just congratulated me on everything I’ve accomplished. Even though I broke the record I told her, ‘Reggie’s still Reggie. I don’t think I’m better than Reggie.’ I told her thank you a lot and I really appreciated it.”

(On what it meant to him that Sara White reached out to him after he broke Reggie White’s UT sack record)
“It meant a lot. She went out of her way. She didn’t have to call me, but I’m glad she did.”

(On when and how football became important to him and when he knew it would become his career)
“The first time I picked it up, I started playing football in fifth grade. I always used to play backyard football when I was younger, but I officially started playing in fifth grade and I picked it up the first day of practice, had a blast and knew I was going to go a long way with it. I played guard, actually. Guard and defensive end.”

(On at what point he changes gears and starts the process of learning the defense and putting the draft behind him)
“When I leave here today, I’m going to have have my iPad with me. So as soon as I leave, I’m going to be able to start learning the defense.”

(On when he watched or grew familiar with Reggie White’s playing career)
“I watched tape of him at Tennessee because I was trying to put the hump move in my game. As a pass rusher, I feel like everyone has their own moves and I think that move is for him, probably not for me.”

(On his experience at the NFL Scouting Combine, competing despite having the flu)
“I caught the flu a few days before we ran. I knew I probably wasn’t going to test my best, but I knew it was an important job interview and I knew I had to go out there and just grind it out. I told myself to just go out there and do my best and control what I can control. And I did so.”

(On if there was any thought to sit out the Combine and work out only at Tennessee Pro Day)
“No, I didn’t put much thought into it because I knew how important that interview was.”

(On how he compares to other defensive ends who have been labeled as more athletic)
“I think my get-off is pretty good and I can bend well. But I think mentally, that’s where I separate a little bit. Preparing for a game, a lot of people don’t see that, but you have to prepare for a game so you can go in and dominate.”

-UT Athletics


Country News


  • Forecast
  • Currents
  • Planner