The Carolina Panthers passed on Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons in favor of Derrick Brown, but why did they make such a move?
The Carolina Panthers opted not to take Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons with their No. 7 NFL Draft pick. The player fell into their lap after falling out of the top five, but they chose defensive tackle, Derrick Brown, in his place.
This was met by derision from certain sections of the Panthers’ fanbase on social media. Simmons was seen as a do-it-all prospect that had the ability to play multiple positions on the back end.
It was undoubtedly a difficult choice for the Panthers’ decision-makers. But football is won in the trenches and Brown represents a can’t-miss prospect that you can build a defense around for the next decade.
That left Simmons out of luck in his hope of ending up in Carolina. That may end up being a blessing in disguise, with the player selected No. 8 by the Arizona Cardinals just a few short moments later.
Not selecting Simmons may come back to haunt the Panthers. But given the high ceiling Brown possesses, it is a choice they were right to make. The former Clemson standout was phenomenal during the evaluation process. But this came down to prioritizing team needs over the best player available.
The only way that the Panthers are going to stay somewhat competitive in the NFC South is if they get after the quarterback. While Simmons showed improvement in this area during his final year in college, he does not wreak havoc like Brown.
This would have played a huge part in the Panthers eventual selection. The trio of Brown, Kawann Short, and Brian Burns is an extremely solid foundation to build off going forward. And, truth be told, one that Carolina’s fanbase should feel encouraged about.
Much will depend on how the Panthers address their secondary with their next few picks as to whether or not this was a wise move. From a pure talent perspective, they couldn’t have gone wrong with either player.
They were not expecting Simmons to be there at No. 7, of that there is little doubt. But passing over him was down to position priority and the immense impact Brown could potentially have on the defense from day one.