It’s official, the Carolina Panthers have picked the first Auburn defensive player in the top ten of the NFL Draft in sixteen years. New head coach Matt Rhule and GM Marty Hurney decided to make their first huge draft decision go toward the defensive side of the ball as they selected Derrick Brown with the 7th overall pick.
After letting Cam Newton go recently, it seems that the Carolina Panthers are trying to do their best to atone to Auburn fans and keep their support in the building at Bank of America Stadium.
It’s kind of alright. I guess it’s a good effort in trying to make good to us Auburn fans, but that’s beside the point.
The main takeaway from tonight’s events is that Derrick Brown is the best interior lineman in the draft (we already knew that), and he’s going to be called on to spearhead a defensive effort in Rhule’s rebuild of the Panthers. Without Luke Keuchly at middle linebacker, the center of the Panthers’ defense needed something stout to help plug the gaps. Derrick Brown will provide that beef.
Standing at 6’5, 325, Brown’s got the size to stuff the run, but he’s nimble enough to move past blockers and seek out sacks. He’s a rare combination of size and speed and he’s a generational player at defensive tackle, quite possible the best to ever come out of Auburn.
You can read Ryan Sterritt’s draft preview where he broke down Derrick Brown’s game, but clearly the Panthers are already excited about Brown’s potential. He’s already listed on their official roster mere moments after the selection, and he’ll have to compete with Woodrow Hamilton and Kawann Short in the middle. Panther fans had to deal with the absence of Short in 2019 for the majority of the season, but getting him back along with Brown would provide the best 1-2 combo in the NFL in terms of defensive tackles.
Much of the Panther defense will get a revamp, but there are still some important pieces that remain around what Brown will bring to the table. Keuchly is gone, but Shaq Thompson returns at linebacker, and Brian Burns returns for his second year after a solid debut. Still, Brown’s arrival will begin a new era on defense for the Panthers, and he should be a solid centerpiece of the line for years to come. War Eagle!