Panthers Draft: Garner confident Brown can thrive in Carolina

Dean Jones
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Derrick Brown
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /

Defensive tackle Derrick Brown is keen to continue the legacy of his college coach Rodney Garner as the Carolina Panthers draft pick looks to cement his own legacy in the NFL.

The Carolina Panthers draft team picked a good one in defensive tackle Derrick Brown. The standout prospect was the organization’s choice at No. 7 in the first round following a hugely impactful college career.

A first-round selection with enormous potential, Brown attributes a lot of his success to Tigers’ defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who has been responsible for bringing a wealth of talent through to the pros.

This includes former Panthers pass-rusher Charles Johnson and Brown is thrilled hs gets to add his name to an illustrious list of student-athletes to make the next level under Garner.

Speaking to the Panthers website, Brown had this to say.

"“Coming out of high school, Coach G had a reputation for putting guys in the league. I wanted that dream. I wanted to be in that situation. I’m proud I get to add my name to that list of guys that he was able to coach and put in there. He was a true second father to me for the last four years.”"

The Panthers draft process involved a Senior Bowl meeting with Brown that left a lasting impression on head coach Matt Rhule. The prospect spoke glowingly about the impact Garner had on his development and this went a long way to Carolina choosing the defensive tackle over Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons.

"“He kept talking about his defensive line coach and how much his defensive line coach meant to him. Here’s a man that’s getting ready to make a bunch of money and he’s talking about how much (his defensive line coach) has impacted his life. A – I said that must be a great defensive line coach, coach (Rodney) Garner. At the same time, I said (Brown) is someone that really connects and it really kind of grabbed me.”"

Garner himself is full of praise for Brown, which is music to the Panthers’ ears. Much is expected of the first-round pick in 2020 beyond as a new 4-3 base defense is set to see the rookie line up alongside veteran Kawann Short in a formidable-looking front.

The Auburn defensive line coach sounded confident that Brown would make a success of his pro career after coveting the potential stud from his sophomore year in high school.

"“We just had the same philosophy and the same background. And I just think that his parents believed in us and what we stood for. I think the way he was brought up, he was not afraid to work. I knew how he was raised and I knew even though he was uncomfortable with some of the things, I knew that he didn’t have that quit in him. Because even if he wanted to quit, (his parents) wouldn’t allow it. You know?“I think that’s something that’s missing in today’s society. When you walk into a dining hall and you see Derrick Brown with just a bunch of walk-ons — not star players, these guys are just walk-ons — and they’re having a great time, they’re loving him. He didn’t just hang out with the good players, but he hung out with the walk-ons, the scout-teamers, the student-managers, the student-trainers, the interns that worked in recruiting. He just has the ability to just affect others in a positive way.”"

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It is clear that Brown is destined for great things in the NFL if he lives up to his potential. He is a prospect with an All-Pro ceiling and has a rare ability to impact the game in a variety of different ways.