The NFL combine continues today, with more players being examined (or sent home) throughout the weekend. Defensive end Derek Barnett, a projected first-round NFL draft pick, has gotten off to a rough start. After weighing in at a very light 259 pounds, he won't be able to participate in any drills today as he's out sick. If he feels better by Sunday, he still might do on-field drills then.

NFL combine importance

Some players are able to overcome a poor combine thanks to great college production or a great pro-day workout. Barnett was an excellent collegiate player, but because he's undersized for an NFL defensive end, executives and scouts around the league were likely very interested in seeing his combine statistics.

Despite the illness, Barnett could have an impressive pro-day and make this poor showing a thing of the past. However, a poor pro-day or another setback could cause him to slide out of the first round of the NFL draft. By missing today's chance to impress scouts, it does his pro-day workout that much more important. A team like the Washington Redskins could target him.

Derek Barnett's collegiate career

Derek Barnett has been a productive player since he stepped foot on the Tennessee campus. He racked up nine sacks as a freshman, and 20.5 tackles for loss. As a sophomore, Barnett had ten sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. This past season, as a junior, Barnett had 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.

His best game was a 3-sack performance against South Carolina, but unfortunately, Tennessee still lost the game 24-21. After that kind of career production, it's no surprise he chose to pass on his senior season and enter the NFL draft one year early.

Despite weighing in at a light number and his inability to perform today, Barnett is a great pass rushing prospect in a league that can never have enough of them.

Barring a terrible 40-yard-dash time at his pro-day or a more serious illness being revealed, the former Tennessee Volunteer standout should feel good about his chances of being a first-round NFL draft pick.

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