Derrick Brown Potentially Makes Kawann Short Better

Jason Hewitt

The Carolina Panthers selected Derrick Brown with the seventh overall pick in the NFL Draft. The All-American out of Auburn University (Sugar Hill, GA) is a beast on the defensive interior with the ability to wreak havoc on offensive linemen and anybody with the ball in the backfield. Does this description sound familiar? It should, because it also refers to Pro Bowler Kawann Short, who was sidelined with a partially torn rotator cuff injury for most of 2019. 

Short is expected to be back to full health by the beginning of the 2020 season, which is bad news for guards and centers all around the NFL. Prior to his injury, Short needed to be double teamed in order to be neutralized. However, double teams are only wise to utilize if there's only one defensive lineman who's threatening enough to make plays in the backfield. When there are two massive defensive tackles on the interior, there are more opportunities for them to win one-on-one battles. For instance, watch Short's performance next to DT Star Lotulelei below: 

Short hasn't been able to experience these opportunities regularly since Lotulelei's exit in 2018. However, that could change after the Panthers made their first round selection.

Derrick Brown's explosiveness is also likely to attract double teams on the NFL level. Brown is 6'5", 326 lbs., so size alone makes him a formidable threat. When you also add Brown's ability to move with his size and dominate offensive linemen consistently, it leaves more opportunities for Kawann Short to make plays, and vice versa. See the film from Jordan Reid from The Draft Network below:

With both Derrick Brown and Kawann Short controlling the line of scrimmage, the Panthers defensive line could thrive for years to come. It will be a nightmare for offensive linemen to control these monsters in the middle of the line, which is exactly what Carolina needs as it continues to rebuild the defense.

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