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Safe Pick: Will Auburn DT Derrick Brown’s poor Combine hurt him? Probably not, analyst says

Defensive tackles are rarely drafted high in the first round.

The list of DTs taken within the first three picks of the draft since 2010 includes Ndamukong Suh and Gerald McCoy, who went No. 2 and No. 3 in the 2010 draft, Marcell Dareus, who was the No. 3 pick in 2011, and Quinnen Williams, who was last year’s third overall pick.

And that’s it for top-3 DTs over the past 10 years.

Auburn’s Derrick Brown could become the fifth DT taken within the first three picks, depending on what Detroit does with the third overall choice.

Prospects who do not play a premium position are usually not drafted within the first five picks – unless they’re viewed as a generational (or close to it) prospect at that their respective position.

And that’s the label some analysts were giving Brown before until his poor showing at the Combine.

At 6-foot-5, 326 pounds and with an arm length of 34-1/4 inches, Brown has ideal size for the position. But he did not fare well during the agility drills, as he ranked low to historically low in all of those categories (his 3-cone drill time of 8.22 seconds was last at his position).

However, Brown reportedly fared better during his Pro Day.

Should evaluators be concerned? No, writes NFL draft analyst Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

“As safe and clean a pick as you could imagine,” La Canfora said in his top-10 rankings. Brown is ranked No. 7 by La Canfora.

“… Brown looks the part of a transformational disrupter from the inside.”

Although the jury is still out on Williams, the other top-3 DTs have enjoyed success in the NFL, as all have been named first-team All-Pro at least once.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Brown is destined for future greatness. And his Combine results give evaluators pause.

But Brown’s overall body of work and the traits he shows on film make him a safe pick in the draft, whether he’s selected in the top 3 or slides outside the top-10.


Jake Rigdon (jake@sydwriting.com) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.


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