Week 5 spotlight: Dad knows best for Panthers stud rookie Derrick Brown

(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Derrick Brown’s turnaround in form with the Carolina Panthers can be attributed to his hard work and family motivation.

The Carolina Panthers look to have made the right call regarding their 2020 first-round pick. There was plenty of pressure on the organization to select do-it-all linebacker Isaiah Simmons after he fell out of the top-five. But they stuck to their guns and went with a player the decision-makers were most impressed with during the evaluation process.

That individual, of course, is Derrick Brown. The defensive tackle had a rough start to his NFL career over the first fortnight. However, his performances for the Carolina Panthers have been much-improved in recent weeks, which has coincided with back-to-back wins and a renewed sense of hope regarding their chances during the 2020 season and beyond.

Brown has the potential to be the anchor on Carolina’s defensive front for the next decade. He is a formidable presence to move off the block and has also demonstrated a real nous for getting in the backfield consistently on running or passing downs.

This is something that came into question during his time at Auburn. The player received some criticism for his contribution over the first two outings of the campaign. But it’s easy to forget that this year’s batch of college recruits didn’t have the added benefit of a normal preseason training regime or any warmup games to call upon due to COVID-19 health concerns.

Derrick Brown’s family values are key to success with the Carolina Panthers.

As for Brown, he knows that bad performance is going to come with criticism from the wider NFL media. But his father is another who won’t be backward in coming forwards regarding what the No. 7 overall selection needs to do better in order to get the most out of his exceptional skill set.

"“If I play bad, my dad will let me know. That’s really the only person I listen to — and my coaches, of course. When the tape turns on, there’s no holding back on that. Nothing specifically. Just working with my teammates every single day. Practicing harder. Practice hard, and it’s a lot easier on Sunday. I’ve got two kids that I’ve got to make sure are taken care of for the rest of their lives. And if dad don’t play good, I won’t be around for long. So that’s the motivation I need.”"

Brown is still getting adjusted to the rigors of the NFL, so his level of play in wins at the Chargers and against the Cardinals is hugely encouraging. He was Pro Football Focus’ highest-ranked rookie in Week 4 and has currently achieved five tackles for loss, ten combined tackles, eight solo tackles, and two pass deflections so far.

This represents outstanding production from a player who is only going to get better with more experience under his belt. Learning from someone such as Kawann Short has been another massively beneficial element to his development that shouldn’t be overlooked.

The veteran Pro Bowler has clearly been impressed by Brown’s application to his craft, which can only mean good things for the lineman going forward.

"“As far as him just stepping up, and not complaining, and not trying to take any reps off and coming to work every day, striving to be the best guy on the field — you see that. His work ethic is unbelievable.”"

Brown has earned the respect of his teammates, which is half the battle for rookie players who come with a high-end draft pick. This gives them an additional bullseye on their back and after some early complications, the future now looks incredibly bright for both the player and the Panthers.

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What comes next will be equally as important for Brown. But his determination and family-orientated mentality should be all the motivation he needs to become a real force to be reckoned with.