Panthers No. 66: Is Derrick Brown the key to Mike Horton’s development?

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Mike Horton
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Mike Horton /

Will Mike Horton’s experience against No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown be key for his chances to make the 53-man roster of the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

We are now just 66 days away from the Carolina Panthers taking the field for what promises to be a season of tremendous intrigue. The team has been very bold during the offseason with a view to becoming a contender in the future. And this is sure to come with more than a few bumps along the way in 2020.

This might be a young and exciting roster that new head coach Matt Rhule has to work with. But the Carolina Panthers lost some extremely influential figures that have left the locker room relatively devoid of any real experience.

They are up against it in no uncertain terms next season. The Panthers find themselves in a division that now has two teams that could realistically make the Super Bowl. And a number of other opponents also look to be strong contenders for a deep postseason run.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the upcoming campaign, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 66. Mike Horton might have gone undrafted in 2020. But the offensive lineman comes from a prestigious program and has plenty of college experience to call upon as he tries to make a name for himself at the next level.

Horton was an imposing figure on the line of scrimmage during his time at Auburn. He played 32 games during his five-year stay with the Tigers. And a former college teammate could hold the key to his development in an NFL environment.

How Derrick Brown can help Mike Horton make it with the Carolina Panthers

Carolina wasted no time in taking defensive tackle Derrick Brown with the No. 7 overall pick. He comes into the league with a Pro Bowl ceiling and could become the Panthers’ lynchpin for the next decade if he reaches his potential.

Horton will have seen plenty of Brown during their time on the field together at Auburn in practice. Coming up against such a talented player is something that has been a useful tool in his progression in recent years.

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Brown’s dominance on the interior has been well documented. So Horton will have a head start in terms of coming up against a player who has been NFL ready for the last two years. Whether that will be enough for him to make the 53-man roster remains to be seen. But it is something that is sure to stand him in good stead.

There is plenty to be encouraged about when one looks at the sort of skills Horton brings to the table. Plenty of undrafted linemen have gone on to secure prolific careers in the NFL. And he could be another name that is added to the list in the coming years.

The Athletic ranked Horton as the No. 43 offensive lineman in this year’s class. He is a strong figure in the run game. But his foot placement needs some considerable work if the player wants to become an NFL starter.

Another area of Horton’s game that needs attention is his ability to recover quickly, which was lacking at times at Auburn. There is also a reduction of time to impress during training camp to consider. And this might see Carolina’s coaching staff go to Brown for advice regarding his college teammate.

This is an area that still represents some real concern for the Panthers. Horton is unlikely to make any sort of contribution right way. But his relationship and experience with Brown might just be enough to make the roster.

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