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2020 NFL Draft Profile: Derrick Brown

Derrick Brown

#1 Overall Defensive Tackle by Football Addicts

Born: April 15th, 1998 (21 Years old)

Height: 6’5

Weight: 318 Lbs

Position: Defensive Tackle

University: Auburn

About Derrick

Derrick Brown was 6’5, 317 Lbs since his senior year of high school, and was the No. 1 player in the state of Georgia in 2016. He played at Lanier High School, and was an unanimous 5-star recruit from all recruiting sites. Teams like Alabama, Tennessee, and of course Georgia were all closing recruiting the Georgia native but he ultimately chose Auburn to go to college.

Of course being as coveted as Brown was, the Tigers found a way to use him in their defensive rotation as a freshman. At the time Auburn had Montravius Adams, Dontarus Russell, Marlon Davidson and Byron Cowart all fighting for reps across their defensive line. He played in all 13 games Auburn played that year recording 11 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery. Auburn would g 8-5 on the season, earning a Sugar Bowl bid against Oklahoma where they would go on to lose 35-19.  

In 2017 we would see Brown’s playing time, and numbers, sky rocket. With Adams and a bunch of other interior defensive linemen graduating, it was now Derrick Brown’s turn to shine, becoming a full time starter for the Tigers. In his sophomore year Brown would record 49 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, and 3.5 sacks along with two forced fumbles. The Tigers would finish as 10-4 SEC West Co-Champions with Alabama, and get a bid to play in the Peach Bowl vs UCF.

After a solid sophomore campaign, Derrick Brown would start the season on the preseason watch list for the Outland and Nagurski Trophies. After his junior season Brown would add another 48 total tackles, 10.5 for loss, and 4.5 sacks. Even though Brown’s season was great, overall as a team the Tigers would finish unranked and 8-5. They would wind up beating Purdue in the Music City Bowl 63-14. Many NFL scouts had Derrick projected in the 1st round, but he elected to stay for his senior season to finish his degree at Auburn. 

His senior season would start off hot with multiple preseason accolades, including Unanimous All-American 1st team, added to the Outland, Nagurski,and  Lott IMPACT trophies watchlist,and All-SEC 1st team. Brown added another 54 total tackles, 11.5 for a loss, four sacks and two forced fumbles after his senior season. That puts his career totals at 170 total tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, along with being a team captain and winning the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Senior CLASS award.

Strengths

Derrick Brown has everything you could really look for in an interior defensive linemen. For a 318 pound defensive tackle, he is extremely quick, mix that in with the strength he has and you got yourself a ferocious terror on the inside. I have seen him play anywhere from a true nose tackle all the way to defensive end and doesn’t miss a step switching positions. 

Brown’s character is also something NFL scouts and coaches will view very highly of the former Auburn Tiger. Even though he easily could have been a 1st round pick last year, he opted to stay and finish his career with the Tigers. With nothing to gain besides going out one last season with your teammates and trying to push for the ultimate goal in CFB; Brown flashed his potential of being an amazing locker room addition. 

Weaknesses

Sometimes you will see Brown almost give too much effort into driving his blocker back that he doesn’t realize he is actually moving himself away from the play. When watching his tape there are a few times when he isn’t really set, and gets high too fast when fighting his blocker. I would love for him to stay lower, but it doesn’t hurt his game whatsoever so I am not too worried about it overall.

NFL Draft Projection/NFL Player Comp

NFL Draft Projection

Talent wise, Derrick Brown might be one of the surest picks in this class. I currently have him as my 7th best player overall on my NFL Big Board. It normally is tough to justify spending a Top 10 pick on a defensive tackle, but Brown is one of the best interior defensive linemen in the past few draft classes.

The Panthers are in a very lucky spot as they really get to snatch any of the top talent that gets pushed down by early quarterback selections. In this case they draft Derrick Brown 7th overall, giving this defense some strength on the interior. Gerald McCoy is a free agent and could be gone, and Kawan Short is coming back from a season ending injury, so drafting Brown sures up the questions at defensive tackle.

NFL Player Comp

I was a little surprised how much NFL Draft love actually picked up for Derrick Brown considering he isn’t really a flashy interior lineman. He fills gaps, closes running lanes, and over powers the offensive line to try and break the play. All of those traits are things defensive line coaches love, but the average fan can sometimes glimpse over.

The Buffalo Bills had a defensive tackle like that before he retired back in 2018. Kyle Williams was a tackle that never got enough love, but was a leader of their defense for over a decade. Brown (6’5) is a lot taller than Williams (6’1), but their game is very similar, and whoever selects him early will soon know as well.

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