Is It Too Soon to Label Derrick Brown a Bust?

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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 11: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons escapes the pocket away from Derrick Brown #95 of the Carolina Panthers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 11, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

In the NFL, a bust is accurately defined as a player drafted in the first round that fails to meet the team’s expectations. Coming out of the first quarter of NFL games, Derrick Brown, former Auburn Tiger has been fairly quiet as a defensive end. Through five games he has posted eight solo tackles, two deflected passes and five tackles for losses. And considering he’s replacing some of the biggest names on the Carolina Panthers’ roster, one wonders if it is too soon to label him a bust. His history with the Tigers suggests that he won’t get a team a ton of sacks but that his hands are very active and he imposes his force as a tackler.

Is It Too Soon to Label Derrick Brown a Bust?

Derrick Brown Through Five Games

Through his first five games in the NFL, Brown has cost his team with the number of penalties he has accumulated. And he is a rookie so you expect those types of mistakes and thankfully they haven’t cost the Panthers any major heartache just yet. Again, he’s been fairly quiet through these first five games but perhaps it’s because he is still trying to “find where he fits in” which may cause him a huge problem down the line. In this industry, especially when it comes to teams that must instantly produce, Brown finds himself in one of the most unique scenarios. The Panthers wanted to make some noise with that pick but how will he contend is the big question?

If it’s a matter of trying to find his place on the team, it’s a welcomed position for him to be in. The problem lies in the fact that the Panthers are desperately seeking a guy who can be an instant threat to opposing teams’ offense, something that Brown has yet to prove to them that he can be.

So, who are some of the notable defensive linemen that we are measuring Brown up against?

Julius Peppers

Let’s get real, there aren’t too many defensive linemen like Peppers. He came into the NFL on fire and put the league on notice as far as the type of player he was going to be. 12 sacks,  an interception that he took 21 yards, five forced fumbles, and 11 tackles for losses in just his first season. It’s not like Brown is expected to put up those same numbers but if he doesn’t want to be considered a bust, he should at least be putting up numbers close to that. And right now he isn’t so it begs the question of whether he can or not.

Charles Johnson

Johnson didn’t produce in his first season so there’s hope yet for Brown. The one difference is Johnson only started three games his rookie season whereas Brown has already started the first four games. There isn’t necessarily a standard on how to gauge the greatness of a defensive lineman but the Panthers have put some major expectations on Brown going into the second half of the season.

Kris Jenkins

So Jenkins was one of the Panthers’ biggest threats from the start, off of his meer presence alone. The guy is six feet four inches and, at the time, was 360 pounds which was a sizable weight and it scared people. Brown is a foot taller than Jenkins and I think maybe even a half step quicker. He has this monstrous mentality if only he gets out of his head. It seems like Brown might play himself right out of a starting position, something Jenkins would have never done.

Is Derrick Brown a Bust?

Statistically speaking, Brown has plenty of this season left so it may be too soon to give him that label just yet. But as a guy picked seventh overall the expectation is high. Yetur Gross-Matos, Kawann Short, and Brian Burns are all out against the Chicago Bears. This gives all the rookies, including Brown, the opportunity to showcase their talent against an active Bears’ offense.

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