Deonte Brown - Carolina Panthers OL
Almost the forgotten man in 2022, Deonte Brown put together a solid showing on Saturday afternoon to remind fans and coaches there’s still a player in there somewhere. Fans love to clown the former head coach for his drafting of long snapper Thomas Fletcher in 2021, just four picks before the Kansas City Chiefs selected Trey Smith, who has quickly emerged as one of the league's best interior offensive linemen.
However, fans forget just 33 picks before Smith was taken the Carolina Panthers took Alabama’s Brown with the No. 193 selection. The hulking guard was expected to challenge for a starting spot as the team struggled at the position, but a mixture of poor coaching and weight issues meant he saw little action.
With reinforcements brought in and a new offensive line coach, Brown didn’t make the roster in 2022 and spent the season on the practice squad after struggling in the preseason. However, early signs from the player on Saturday were positive.
Just looking at him you can see Brown’s trimmed down significantly. At the NFL Scouting Combine, he was listed at 364 pounds - two years later he is listed on the Panthers’ website at 335 - which shows the hard work the player has put in.
Cade Mays was expected to be the starting right guard in the absence of Austin Corbett. But after his less-than-encouraging performance against the Jets, the position is up for grabs.
Outside starting center Bradley Bozeman, Brown is the only other lineman to earn some credit following the performance. With Michael Jordan once again struggling, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the third-year-pro finds a place on the roster and throws his name in the hat to start Week 1.