If the Saints have done their research then there should be no doubt.
This in no way is an article trying to debate, whether or not Derek Barnett will be a good player in the NFL. Perhaps one day Barnett may be great. However, the Saints cannot pick a player that is ranked third or lower at his position at #11. The more information that’s gathered, the more concerned that is growing for me to take a risk here.
There is no denying his success in college. Barnett has had 198 total tackles, 52 tackles for a loss, and 32 sacks over three years. Those numbers are outstanding to say the least. That being said, there is a consistent voice of doubt out there about his ceiling and athleticism. Dane Brugler from CBS Sports had this to say about Barnett:
"“Can bend off the edge with his flexibility, but lacks explosive twitch to win the corner on athleticism alone. Initial quickness based more on timing than burst, leading to offsides penalties or late movements out of his stance when he misreads the snap. Pass rush repertoire lacks variety and hard usage mid-rush still a work-in-progress. Aggressive play style will still lead to missed tackles in the open field. Needs to improve his break down skills. Tight-hipped in space and has limited potential as a stand-up player.”"
Lance Zeirlein from NFL.com has said some of the same things. Zeirlein points out that Barnett’s length may be a concern and the questions remain of Barnett’s slow start in seasons. There will be at least one or two guys on the draft board that are ranked first at their position that will be available. This is really a simple decision. Whether it be a safety, linebacker, tight end, or cornerback, the Saints shouldn’t even think twice about this.
Furthermore, the defensive end class is deep. Getting one late in the first round makes more sense than risking the very first pick.