4 players the Panthers could have drafted instead of Derrick Brown

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Simmons /

Carolina Panthers could have drafted Isaiah Simmons

Isaiah Simmons was the one a lot of Carolina Panthers wanted back in 2020. Many believed it was a toss-up between the athletic linebacker and Derrick Brown as to who the team would end up taking.

The former Clemson man had a breakout junior year for the Tigers, as he registered 104 total tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and eight sacks. Not to mention three interceptions and two forced fumbles for good measure.

The 6-foot-4 Nebraska native had the versatility the Panthers loved, taking snaps at linebacker, safety, defensive end, and cornerback. While the drafting of Jeremy Chinn, another versatile defender in the second round, somewhat offsets Carolina passing on Simmons, it’s still worth a thought as to what he could do in Phil Snow’s active fast defense.

After a quiet rookie season, Simmons finished his sophomore year with 104 total tackles and an impressive four forced fumbles.

Simmons’ stats are solid if not spectacular – much like Brown’s – but he is the athletic, long, and versatile defender the Panthers love. And let’s not forget he’s a linebacker who ran a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The Panthers linebacker room has struggled to find an identity since the retirements of potential Pro Football Hall of Famers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. Pairing a stud like Simmons with someone like Shaq Thompson would have given Carolina a stud pairing at the second level.

No one knows how the player would have worked out in Carolina. But with the intangibles the player has, one imagines he may have been a perfect fit on the Panthers.