Ranking the 7 best Panthers players under 25-years-old in 2021

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /
5 of 7
Carolina Panthers
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

DERRICK BROWN. 3. player. 87. . .

Derrick Brown – Carolina Panthers DT

There was a lot of talk about just what the Carolina Panthers were going to do at No. 7 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. The calls to draft Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons were deafening – especially when he fell out of the top five – but the organization ended up sticking to their guns and taking the prospect that impressed them most during the evaluation process.

It was the right call to make.

Derrick Brown came on leaps and bounds during his rookie campaign and looks to be a star in the making. He grew in stature with every passing game and although there is some refinement needed against the run, the foundations have been laid for a potential Pro Bowl career.

The one question mark on Brown coming out of Auburn was if he could generate pressure at the next level. This is something the defensive tackle answered in no uncertain terms despite being double-teamed more than most playing the position.

Brown recorded 34 tackles, two sacks, eight tackles for loss, four passes defended, 12 quarterback hits, and 19 pressures from 70 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.

This might have only come with a 61.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. But the score was largely down to his inconsistencies stopping the run.

This will be the area Brown improves most next season. So the potential for a dominant Year 2 in Carolina is extremely high.