Top Rookie: Derrick Brown – DT
Derrick Brown is everything the Carolina Panthers thought he was and more. The defensive tackle made his presence felt in no uncertain terms during training camp and this has only heightened expectations regarding his ability to make an immediate impression.
The Panthers displayed a tremendous amount of faith in Brown when they selected him No. 7 overall out of Auburn. He has fitted in seamlessly at the next level and it is hard not to be enormously encouraged by his level of production during team drills.
Brown was throwing experienced offensive linemen around like rag dolls for the most part. He is the stiffest of propositions to move off the black and has managed to get into the backfield consistently at practice.
This is an area of his game that some questioned during the evaluation process. Brown was doubled-teamed on almost every play at the college level to prevent him attaining the sort of stats normally associated with a high-end selection. But there is little doubting his credentials and was regarded by some to be the best player in this year’s class.
Pairing him with veteran Pro Bowler Kawann Short on the interior will be a tremendous tool for Brown’s initial development. More importantly, it is sure to completely transform the Panthers’ run defense that was among the NFL’s worst in 2019.