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Analysts still see Auburn DT Derrick Brown as a high first rounder, but with an asterisk

Derrick Brown, the presumed top defensive tackle in the 2020 NFL draft, put up below-average numbers at the Combine.

What does that mean for his long-term success in the NFL?

CBS Sports NFL draft analyst Chris Trapasso did not sugarcoat Brown’s performance.

“For as disruptive as Brown was during his illustrious career at Auburn, the odds are now firmly against him becoming a star (pass-rusher) in the NFL,” Trapasso said.

Here’s how the 6-foot-5, 326-pound Auburn product fared at the Combine:

  • 40 yard dash: 5.16 seconds (good for 28th among participating DL)
  • Hand size: 9 inches (tied with Texas A&M’s Justin Madubuike for smallest)
  • Bench press: 28 reps (tied for seventh-best)
  • Vertical: 27 inches (tied for 19th-best)
  • Broad jump: 108 inches (18th best out of 21 participants)
  • 3 Cone Drill: 8.22 seconds (last out of 22 participants)
  • 20 Yard Shuttle: 4.79 seconds (20th out of 26 participants)

Still, look around various mock drafts, and you’ll see Brown’s name high atop Round 1. Even Trapasso said it would be a shock if Brown fell to the second half of the first round.

“Brown wins with sheer force through blocks and tremendous block-shedding laterally to go along with stellar tackling reliability,” Trapasso said. “He’s the best run defender in the class, bar none. But, while that makes for fun highlights, it’s simply not as valuable in the NFL in 2020 as it was even a decade ago.

“He took a step forward using his hands when attacking upfield in 2019, yet outside of a bull rush and a very rare swim, one simply can’t say Brown is a refined hand-work move master on pass plays. And now know that projecting him to win through a gap simply with his burst and athletic gifts at the NFL level might be a fool’s errand.”

That isn’t to say Brown doesn’t have fans among scouts and analysts alike. Retired defensive end Stephen White said Brown would be a top-5 pick in any draft, especially after watching him on film.

“I’d bet him against the field for Defensive Rookie of the Year, right now, today. That’s just how much potential I see in him as a prospect,” White said via SB Nation.

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