Carolina Panthers: 2020 end of season awards

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Derrick Brown – Carolina Panthers DT

We gave the Defensive Player of the Year award to Jeremy Chinn, so it was only right that another talented rookie also came away from the season with some recognition. Derrick Brown had the weight of the world on his shoulders when the Carolina Panthers took him at No. 7 overall and after taking a couple of games to find his feet, the defensive tackle’s level of dominance down the stretch has been outstanding.

Brown is a commanding force on the interior that is only going to get better in the coming years. His prowess to impact running downs has been there for all to see. But it is the former Auburn star’s ability to generate pressure in opposing backfields that have been both welcome and surprising in equal measure.

This was the big question mark surrounding Brown coming out of college, with some experts claiming he would struggle in this area against bigger and more imposing linemen at the next level.

How wrong they were.

Considering Brown lost veteran Pro Bowler Kawann Short alongside him early in the season, it’s been a year of real promise. What comes next for the player will be equally as important. But the Panthers can look back safe in the knowledge that they made the right call to take him ahead of linebacker Isaiah Simmons.