Carolina Panthers: Hurney explains why he took Brown over Simmons

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Derrick Brown
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /

Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney seems happy with his decision to select Derrick Brown with the No. 7 pick over Isaiah Simmons.

Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney has been explaining why he selected Derrick Brown over Isaiah Simmons.

The organization was left with a dilemma at No. 7 after the Clemson linebacker fell out of the first round. After some deliberation, they opted to stick to their guns and bolster their defensive front by taking Brown in the first round of the NFL Draft.

This decision was met with derision by some sections of the Panthers’ fanbase who thought Simmons could have filled part of the void left by legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly after he announced his retirement this offseason.

Simmons did not have to wait too much longer to hear his name called, with the Arizona Cardinals taking the exciting prospect with the No. 8 pick.

Hurney has been a big fan of Brown’s throughout the evaluation process and this proved telling in the way Carolina eventually went with their selection.

Speaking to the Panthers website, Hurney had this to say about choosing Brown over Simmons.

"“We had them both pretty close together, obviously. But we both believe that you start building from the front and I think what Derrick does is, he not only helps guys like K.K. (Short) and the rest of the line, but he helps Shaq (Thompson), he helps the linebackers. He’s a big powerful player that’s got a really good first step.“He’s a three-down player. Obviously he helps you against the run, but he really gets push up the middle. We met with him several times. I met with him after the season. I really didn’t think he would make it to 7, but I believe you start up front and he’s a really good player that can not only stop the run, but really get pass rush up inside for you.”"

Brown projects to be an elite prospect that has an All-Pro ceiling. He joins a defensive front that also includes Kawann Short, Stephen Weatherly, and Brian Burns as the Panthers look to revert to a 4-3 system in 2020 under defensive coordinator Phil Snow.

Hurney also highlighted Brown’s ability to allow others to make plays, given the attention a player of his talent commands on every down.

"“We had players that were close together, but he really was (the best player and fit). He was the guy that we thought fit us the best and was the best player for us as far as starting to put the pieces together on defense. So, this guy, he might not have the greatest stats in the world, but he helps other players make plays. You can’t double team everyone on the defensive line, you watch his tape and he was doubled a lot. He’s going to help our defensive lineman a lot, he’s going to help our linebackers and we thought he was a great fit for us.”"

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Only time will tell as to whether this is going to be the right decision for the Panthers. Truth be told, both Brown and Simmons will probably go on to have successful careers. So, it represented a potential home run either way they went.