Vols Derek Barnett shines at NFL Combine

Derek Barnett (Courtesy: WATE)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After having no Volunteers drafted for two years, Tennessee stands to have six this year, including Derek Barnett in Round 1.

He certainly has the resume after breaking Reggie White’s sack record at Tennessee with 32 in only three years.

Barnett also did reasonably well in the 40 Sunday, running a 4.88; looked explosive in the broad jump going 9 feet 9 inches; and he put in the fifth best time of any defensive lineman in the cone drill doing it in 6.96 seconds.

“I wanted to come out and perform because I know this is an important job interview,” Barnett said. “A lot of people would die to be here, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to make the most of the opportunity that I’ve got.’ I just grinded it out and came out here and did my best.”

He’s had his hand in the ground all three years at Tennessee at defensive end at 6 feet 3 inches tall and 268 pounds. The big question about him is, can he make the move to outside linebacker, play on two feet and drop in to pass coverage?

Rob Rang from CBS Sports doesn’t just think so, he sounds like a fan.

“I think he can do just about anything! I mean Derek Barnett is a superstar. He’s one that actually I wasn’t quite as high on. I’ll call myself out, I wasn’t quite as high on him coming into the season, because I saw a player that doesn’t have that quick twitch athleticism, that isn’t really powerful. He just does everything so well.”

Greg Cosell from the NFL Network said teams will also ask that very question.

“Whenever you ask a player from going to have his hand in the ground to standing up and then having more responsibility, there’s always a transition and it is a little bit of a projection, but I do think he does have the movement to do that.”

The thing about NFL defenses today is they are so multiple in their looks.

Look at the Titans. Both Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan spend much of the time up on two feet, but both also line up in 3-point stance, either in straight pass rush situations or just at times when the switch from a 3-4 back to a 4-3.