ESPN’s McShay has Lions taking Vols’ Barnett

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions could desperately use another edge rusher, and that’s exactly what ESPN’s Todd McShay has them adding in his latest mock draft.

With the No. 21 selection in the first round, McShay has Tennessee’s Derek Barnett going to the Lions.

“Barnett isn’t expected to put up big numbers during workouts, which could cause him to fall a bit in between now and late April,” McShay writes. “But he plays with good discipline, a consistent motor and impressive physicality. His production in the SEC the past three years is insane, including 52 (tackles for loss) and 33 sacks.”

Barnett is listed at 6-foot-3, 265 pounds and he was impressively consistent his three years with the Volunteers. A starter from the day he stepped on campus, Barnett racked up double-digit sacks each of his three seasons at the school, earning first-team All-American honors as a junior.

The Lions don’t just need depth along their defensive line, they need playmakers. The team finished with 26 sacks and 71 quarterback hurries, both ranking 31st in the league last season.

Ziggy Ansah, the team’s star defense end, struggled with injuries in 2016, finishing with two sacks. Healthy, he should bounce back and look closer to the player who tallied 14.5 the season before.

Ansah is complemented by Kerry Hyder, who unexpectedly emerged as the team’s sack leader, dropping opposing quarterbacks behind the line eight times.

Devin Taylor, a starter last season, is a free agent. The team praised his improved consistency as a run defender, but he had minimal impact as a pass rusher, recording 4.5 sacks and 10 quarterback hurries.