Panthers OG Deonte Brown inactive for Week 1, still a development project

(Gary Cosby Jr./Tuscaloosa News via IMAGN images) Deonte Brown
(Gary Cosby Jr./Tuscaloosa News via IMAGN images) Deonte Brown /

Deonte Brown being inactive for the Carolina Panthers in Week 1 is further proof the offensive lineman should still be treated as a development project.

The Carolina Panthers decided not to activate Deonte Brown for their Week 1 contest against the New York Jets. Although disappointing to the team’s fanbase who were hoping to see him in action at some stage, it’s worth putting the bigger picture in mind regarding the offensive lineman.

Brown was drafted in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft after being tabbed as a development project by the Panthers. His alarming fall into Day 3 means the Alabama product could still be a bargain when it’s all said and done, but Carolina brought him in as a work in progress who could start later in the campaign or in 2022.

Perhaps the questions surrounding Carolina’s offensive line heading into the season made this decision more of a big deal than it should be. Although we won’t know for sure just how this unit is going to keep quarterback Sam Darnold upright until we see them on the gridiron.

There was certainly a lot to like about Brown’s adjustment to the pros both in training camp and during his time on the field in preseason games. Couple this with some outstanding college production with the Crimson Tide and it’s not hard to see why people are clamoring for the player to get involved right away.

Erring on the side of caution where Brown is concerned is the smart way to go. The Panthers only have to look at the negative impact of throwing Greg Little and Dennis Daley in too soon as rookies to see how things can go the other way.

This isn’t pushing the panic button on Brown by any stretch of the imagination.

He is a brute force on the interior who shifts people around at will. But the Panthers are keen to see what their veteran contingent across the line of scrimmage can do before taking drastic measures regarding those with less experience.

Brown can watch and take notes from the sidelines. An essential part of a player’s development once they get to the next level.

Carolina Panthers inactive players in Week 1:

  • OL Deonte Brown
  • DT Phil Hoskins
  • DE Darryl Johnson
  • LB Clay Johnston
  • OL Michael Jordan
  • WR Shi Smith (injured)

What comes next for Brown in terms of when he’ll see meaningful time on the field is unclear. Much will also depend on how others perform or whether the injury bug strikes early or not.

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Until further notice, treat Brown as a project with a ton of upside. The same applies to seventh-rounder Phil Hoskins on a stacked defensive front.