Derrick Brown 2020 NFL Draft Profile
2020 NFL Draft
Defensive tackle Derrick Brown is widely regarded as the best interior presence in the 2020 NFL Draft, and he’s likely to earn a high first-round pick. After making a name for himself during four years of college ball at Auburn, Brown is considered to be a great NFL prospect, and there will be plenty of teams taking a good look at him while they’re on the clock.
College Career: Brown jumped right in as a freshman at Auburn and was part of the team’s defensive rotation. He played in all 13 games that year, recording 11 total tackles, 1.0 sack and a fumble recovery. Brown’s numbers got even better in his sophomore year as a 12-game starter: 49 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 8.5 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.
Across his junior and senior seasons combined, Brown posted 8.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, six pass defenses and 100 total tackles. In 2019 he won the Lott IMPACT Trophy, SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was All-SEC First Team and a unanimous All-American.
Strengths: Brown has a great combination of strength, size, athleticism and technique which allowed him to flummox opposing lesser-skilled linemen during his college career. He’s got a great motor and quick reflexes off the snap. Most teams have to game-plan for Brown specifically, which opens up a great opportunity for the linebackers behind him to avoid blockers. He’s got a lot of upper-body power which allows him to gain leverage and push his way to the ball-carrier, and has enough versatility to play up and down the line in different fronts.
Weaknesses: Most scouts don’t have too many negative things to say about Brown outside of his lack of upfield quickness—which prevents him from playing over the gap in certain situations. Aside from that, Brown does have a few technique issues such as an inconsistent pad level due to his knee bend, and a forward-heavy balance that could get him into trouble against the more experienced offensive lines of the NFL. Many of Brown’s minor issues can likely be coached up if he continues to work and tightens his technique.
Possible Fits: By most mock drafts out there, we’ll see a run on QBs in the high first round (as usual), as well as some of the more elite OTs, WRs and pass rushers in this class. Brown seems to enter the projected conversation right at the No. 7 mark—that’s where the Panthers are sitting now. Carolina will take a long look at Brown there (if he’s still available—which he should be), or if a good offer comes along they could trade out of it and we could see a surprise team pick him up—or pass for a different need. There are lots of different scenarios there, but that’s the fun of pre-draft rankings.
Some of the mock drafts have cooked up some elaborate trade possibilities and a massive early run on OTs and WRs. A few even pushed Brown down into the second round, but honestly I don’t see very many scenarios where he’ll fall that far. Unless Carolina gets a really solid offer and trades back, I don’t see them passing on Brown at that No. 7 slot. The Panthers could really use him on their interior line.