What can the Carolina Panthers expect from Derrick Brown in 2022?
By Dean Jones
What can the Carolina Panthers expect from Derrick Brown during an important Year 3 for the defensive tackle in 2022?
It’s been a solid if not spectacular start to Derrick Brown‘s professional career. The Carolina Panthers invested heavily in the stud defensive tackle by taking him No. 7 overall during the 2020 NFL Draft, which filled a major need and gave the organization a potential difference-maker on the interior if everything went well.
Brown instantly became one of the league’s most double-teamed defensive tackles. A sign that opposing protection schemes respected his ability to shift the course of a game at any given moment.
With that being said, Brown has had some nice moments. Something that the Panthers need more of during a critical campaign for the organization in 2022.
There hasn’t been much for Brown or Carolina to celebrate in terms of results over the last couple of years. Defensive linemen normally make considerable strides in Year 3, so the Panthers will be requiring something similar from the former Auburn standout in no uncertain terms.
Last season wasn’t without tribulations for Brown. Head coach Matt Rhule benched the player for a snap or two at the Miami Dolphins, which was down to poor performance in their previous encounter at home against the Washington Football Team.
This was a message that was received loud and clear by Brown, who ended the season on a high note and has been working exceptionally hard throughout the offseason to get his weight down for his upcoming wedding and to ensure that he is in peak physical fitness for training camp.
Carolina Panthers need Derrick Brown to become a major factor in 2022
Carolina holds Brown in higher regard than most due to where he was drafted and the clear athletic attributes at his disposal. But it is absolutely crucial for the player to emerge as a real force next season.
He’ll have another new partner on the interior after DaQuan Jones signed for the Buffalo Bills in free agency. Matt Ioannidis is expected to slot in alongside Brown – a former Pro Bowler that has experience within Phil Snow’s system from their time working together at Temple.
Looking at Brown’s stats over the last two years, it’s clear there is plenty to work with:
- 32 games (29 starts)
- 5 sacks
- 75 tackles
- 16 tackles for loss
- 8 passes defended
- 21 quarterbacks hits
- 16 quarterback knockdowns
- 31 pressures
- 62.7 average PFF grade
Not bad, right?
But this could be just scratching the surface of what Brown is truly capable of.
Providing Brown responds to coaching this offseason and locks right in from the outset, it’s hard to project just what his ceiling might be. It would also prove beyond all doubt this was the right pick despite many fans wanting the team to select linebacker Isaiah Simmons at the time.
Brown is a silent assassin that gets it done more often than not. Most of his good work doesn’t even appear on a stat sheet given his ability to command space and attention that frees up room for others.
This is a foundational piece that Carolina should build around long-term. Targets will be higher for Brown than ever before with a solid amount of experience now under his belt, but hitting these increased milestones will see the lineman become an indispensable member of the roster for good measure.
Pressure breaks pipes. If Brown can continue refining his skills against the run and generate havoc on passing downs, then a potential Pro Bowl honor is not entirely out of the question.
Again, consistency is key. Once Brown figures this out, the sky is the limit.