New York Giants 1st Round Prospect Defensive End Derek Barnett 2
Nov 5, 2016; Knoxville, TN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers defensive end Derek Barnett (9) during the first quarter against the Tennessee Volunteers at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have addressed most of their needs, but as the best way to build the core of a team is through the draft, perhaps Derek Barnett.

Right now, nobody knows for sure if the New York Giants will go offense or defense with the 23rd pick in the NFL Draft, but last week, ESPN’s Mel Kiper executed his latest mock and had Jerry Reese snagging Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett in the first round.

On the surface, you would think it wouldn’t make sense for the Giants to draft a defensive end since they have Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon. But in the NFL, you can never have too many pass rushers. If the Giants take Barnett, it wouldn’t be the first time they took a defensive end in the first round when they already had two Pro Bowl caliber defensive ends on the roster.

In 2006, the Giants took Mathias Kiwanuka in the first round, right after defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora made the Pro Bowl in 2005. Then in 2010, the Giants took Pierre-Paul with Justin Tuck and Umenyiora still playing at a high level. Ironically, the Giants won the Super Bowl the following seasons they took Kiwanuka and Pierre-Paul in the first round.

At 6-foot-3, 259 pounds, Barnett is the prototypical pass rusher in today’s NFL. In his three years with the Tennessee Volunteers, he recorded 33 sacks, which is the school’s all-time record, surpassing the late great Reggie White. He also recorded 198 tackles, 52 of which were for a loss, which is the second most in the team’s history.

This past season, he was named First Team All SEC and helped lead the Volunteers to a 9-4 record and a victory over Nebraska in the Music City Bowl.

Barnett, obviously, would not be a starter, but he would provide depth to the defensive end position and would limit the number of snaps JPP and Vernon play. One of the reasons many felt JPP was lost for the season in week 13 with sports hernia was because he was on the field way too much.

JPP’s availability has also become an issue considering he’s only played 16 games once in the last four seasons. So in case JPP goes down with an injury again, Barnett would be a great substitute.

Barnett would also be ideal to bring in on 3rd-downs, so the Giants have three pass rushers on the field at the same time as a 2017 version of their NASCAR package.

At just 20-years-old, Barnett has a bright NFL future ahead of him. We’ll find out Apr. 27 if his future is with the Giants or not.

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