Panthers: DL power rankings ahead of 2020 training camp

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Derrick Brown, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Derrick Brown /

. . . DERRICK BROWN. 3. player. 87

Carolina Panthers No. 3: Derrick Brown (DT)

The Carolina Panthers took what could potentially be their defensive anchor for the next decade at No. 7 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Derrick Brown comes into the league with the highest of ceilings following a standout college career at Auburn. And he has the scope to cause havoc on any given down at the next level.

Brown is a space-eater that can make things happen consistently. He is a difficult presence to move off the block. And he should benefit enormously from less attention given the potential for others to get into the backfield.

If the interior lineman can prove doubters wrong regarding his pass-rushing ability, then Brown can make a Pro Bowl in no time at all. If the player exceeds expectations, a first-team All-Pro selection during his career is not entirely out of the question.

. . KAWANN SHORT. 2. player. 87.

Carolina Panthers No. 2: Kawann Short (DT)

Kawann Short is expected to make a full return to health after a torn rotator cuff ended his 2019 campaign early. The defensive tackle is comfortably the team’s highest earner on defense. And the player is going to be a massive asset to have for this young group.

The Pro Bowler might need to raise his game to a new level if he wants to see out the remainder of his deal with the Panthers. Short will count $20.83 million against Carolina’s salary cap in 2021. And it appears unlikely he will be kept around with this particular commitment.

Short’s tandem with Derrick Brown on the interior should transform the Panthers’ run defense. And there is just no telling how much of an influence he can be if the player is back and firing on all cylinders.

player. 87. . . . BRIAN BURNS. 1

Carolina Panthers No. 1: Brian Burns (DE)

Everything is in place for Brian Burns to take a significant second-year leap in 2020. The defensive end secured 7.5 sacks from 42 percent of the team’s snaps on defense last season. And he goes into training camp as the Panthers’ No. 1 edge rushing option.

Burns is lighting quick off the block and always seems to be around the ball. The former first-round selection is as exciting a prospect as there is at the position across the league. So it would be a massive disappointment if the player didn’t break out in his sophomore campaign.

The North Carolina product comes with some lofty expectations on his young shoulders. But there is nothing to suggest he is not more than ready for this sort of responsibility thanks to the exceptional skill set Burns brings to the table.

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