Tag Archives: Derrick Brown

2020 NFL Draft recap: NFC South

Carolina Panthers  Notable pick: Gross-Matos has a chance to benefit from one-on-one opportunities as the Panthers continue to diversify its defensive front. He and 2019 first-round pick Brian Burns could become bookends on the outside edges.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (7) Derrick Brown6’4 326 DT-Auburn10/1st Round Brown won’t necessarily provide an immediate pass rush upgrade over the since-departed Gerald McCoy. He will, however, provide immediate returns as a defender who will require double teams at nearly 330 pounds. His range belies that of a player in his weight class.
2 (38) Yetur Gross-MatosDE-Penn State14/2nd RoundGross-Matos is young and probably hasn’t come close to tapping his unlimited potential. For him to do, he has to improve affecting the three-step passing game once his pass rush has been stymied.
2 (64) Jeremy Chinn6’3 221
DB-Southern Illinois
39/2nd RoundChinn moved around in school but his value can come as a multi-purpose safety. He has the skills to cover tight ends. His most impressive characteristic is the ability to close from the inside-out on out-breaking patterns. At 221 pounds, he has to get better at not settling his feet in one-on-one coverage.
4 (113)Troy Pride, Jr.6’2 202
CB-Notre Dame
201/4th RoundPride closes routes from the outside-in, runs extremely well and is frequently in good position. The next step involves finishing in those moments.
5 (152)Kenny Robinson6’2 202
S-West Virginia
N/ARobinson is another safety with special teams value and above average range. His biggest knock at West Virginia was the occasional missed one-on-one tackle, something he largely improved as a St. Louis Battlehawk in the XFL.

6 (184)
Brayvion Roy
6’1 333
DT-Baylor
241/4th Round
Roy was often lauded by the Baylor coaching staff (now in Carolina) for his pure power. The former Bear is tough to move but his lack of length caused him to fall to Day 3 of the draft process.
7 (221)
Stantley Thomas-Oliver III
6’0 192
CB-FIU
167/3rd Round
We think Thomas-Oliver III has an outside shot of making the team because of his upside in man coverage. The former WR caught 35 passes for 486 yards in 2016 for FIU.
Atlanta Falcons  Notable picks: For the Falcons to spend a seventh-round pick on Hofrichter underscores the importance of the kicking game. Hofrichter’s strong leg can travel outside, but he tallied 72 punts of 50-plus yards in school. Can he handle kickoff duties?
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (16) A.J. Terrell 6’1 195
CB-Clemson
34/2nd Round Terrell made his mark at Clemson by playing a large majority of man coverage. Although he gave up some plays, his short memory makes him a fit at the position.
2 (47) Marlon Davidson6’3 303
DT-Auburn
40/2nd Round Davidson can basically play any of the four defensive line spots but may project as a legitimate three-technique on third downs. His work off the edge has been very good in the run game and pedestrian as a pass rusher.
3 (78) Matt Hennessy6’4 302
OC-Temple
52/2nd Round Hennessy has outstanding lateral agility, average pop and good range. This is a pick for the near future with Alex Mack still in the fold at center. It may give time for Hennessy to get stronger and provide depth at the three interior line spots.
4 (119) Mykal Walker6’3 230
OLB-Fresno State
3rd Round Walker’s work in school was often as a Rush OLB, but he will get the opportunity to develop as an exchange LB with the hope that he can provide immediate special teams coverage value. His work in the postseason at the exchange LB spot improved his draft stock.
4 (134)Jaylinn Hawkins6’2 208
S-Cal
4th Round Hawkins -a former WR- continued to improve filling as a tackler (see vs. Kelley, UCLA ’19). The ball skills show up in some downfield moments, but his angles have been inconsistent.
Atlanta Falcons first-round pick A.J. Terrell (No. 8 pictured) was frequently given man-to-man assignments in Clemson’s defense.
7 (228)
Sterling Hofrichter
5’10 196
P-Syracuse
462/6th Round
After the Falcons released longtime punter Matt Bosher during the offseason, there was an opening for a punter/kickoff specialist. Hofrichter did both well during his stay at Syracuse.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers  Notable pick: Vaughn’s impact at Vanderbilt goes beyond the numbers. His contact balance, receiving skills and underrated long speed could be the jolt the Buccaneers need in the running game.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (13) Tristan Wirfs6’5 320
OT-Iowa
8/1st RoundWirfs has All-Pro potential as an OG or OT, but most likely projects on the edges. He was more dominant a run blocker than pass protector.
2 (45) Antoine Winfield, Jr.5’9 203
S-Minnesota
19/2nd Round Winfield, Jr. was a solid nickel back earlier in his career, but injuries stopped his charge. He put it all together as a safety in 2019 and -if healthy- the best may be yet to come. He is entering a young, crowded defensive backfield that will benefit from his competitive nature.
3 (76) Ke’Shawn
Vaughn
5’10 214
RB-Vanderbilt
65/2nd Round Vaughn’s productivity (back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons), quickness, field speed and balance were undone by nagging injury problems. He played his best against the best competition in school.
5 (161)Tyler Johnson6’1 206
WR-Minnesota
156/4th Round Johnson finished his storied career with 33 receiving TDs. There are questions about his short-striding nature and ball security, but none concerning strength.
6 (194)  Khalil Davis6’1 308
DT-Nebraska
144/3rd RoundDavis played some at DE and DT in school, but his natural NFL position will be inside. The all-conference track & field thrower’s 4.79 speed didn’t consistently show up down-to-down, but he impressed the last two seasons.
7 (241)Chappelle Russell6’2 236
LB-Temple 
296/4th Round Russell’s movement and play speed in 2019 made it seem as if his knee injuries were a thing of the past.
7 (245)Raymond CalaisAll-purpose/Louisiana-Lafayette370/5th Round In 49 career games, Calais averaged nearly eight yards per carry. In addition, he was one of the draft ‘s
Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round pick Tristan Wirfs posted the second-best all-time mark in the state of Iowa in the shot put (66-3 1/4).
New Orleans Saints  Notable Pick: Trautman has a chance to develop into a very good NFL tight end. He runs routes like a wide receiver and offers flex potential. He may have an opportunity to steal repetitions from incumbent No. 2 tight end Josh Hill.
Round, Selection,
Player School DN Big Board Rank/ Grade ‘Nasty’ Take:
1 (24) Cesar Ruiz 6’3 307
OC-Michigan
31/2nd Round Ruiz has all of the requisite tools to get to and complete most of his assignments. He has to finish blocks with more tenacity in order to become the player the team envisions.
3 (74)Zack Baun6’3 238
LB-Wisconsin
16/2nd Round Baun was often lauded as one of the Big Ten’s best pass rushers over the last two seasons, but the former Badger also found time to pick off two passes (TD) and showed upside in pass coverage.
3 (105)Adam Trautman 6’5 255
TE-Dayton
128/3rd Round Trautman’s 6.78 3-cone time at the 2020 NFL Combine ranked as one of the more impressive testing numbers during the postseason.
4 (120) Tommy Stevens 6’4 237
QB/All-purpose-Mississippi State
430/5th Round If Saints fans want to envision a possible role for Stevens, look no further than how former Penn State OC and Mississippi State HC Joe Moorhead used him as a Nittany Lion. It could be his path to making the roster. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry with 8 TDs in a slash-type role in Happy Valley.
New Orleans Saints third-round pick Adam Trautman, pictured, averaged a touchdown catch every 5.74 receptions in school.

Week 1 Preview, 8-31-19: Auburn defense vs. Oregon offense

Oregon’s offense heads into the 2019 campaign with a huge contest looming versus an Auburn defense that ranked 30th in the nation in opponent third down conversions a season ago.  They are led by a defensive line that features three disruptive edge rushers in Marlon Davidson, Big Kat Bryant and Nick Coe.  Coe led the Tigers with seven quarterbacks sacks in 2018. 

Oregon QB Justin Herbert’s ability to throw under pressure will be key in the team’s Week 1 matchup versus Auburn.

Davidson has occasionally shown the ability to peel (come off of his pass rush to cover RBs) versus quick running back flares to the flats (see UGA ’18-third quarter).  As we spotlighted in the Tigers dominating 63-14 win in the 2018 Music City Bowl versus Purdue, even backup front seven personnel (i.e. Bryant) are capable of reacting to tipped passes.

Auburn OLB/DE Big Kat Bryant (No. 1 pictured) returned a tipped ball (by No. 94 Tyrone Truesdell, pictured) for a 20-yard TD interception return in the second quarter of the 2018 Music City Bowl.

It makes this a tough defensive line to puncture even if they aren’t recording sacks. The team’s front seven accounted for 15 of Auburn’s 54 pass break-ups (T-30th in the nation) in 2018.  Bryant, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 253 pounds, accounted for three of those pass break-ups despite starting just three games.

Derrick Brown vs. Oregon interior OL

Throckmorton, pictured, has started at four different positions on Oregon’s offensive line heading into 2019.

Auburn defensive lineman and 2020 NFL first-round draft prospect Derrick Brown can win on twists/stunts, displays range and is capable of using his vision versus double teams.  It will be important for 2018 second-team All-Pac-12 LG Shane Lemieux -a  38-game starter entering 2019- to win on his angle/cut-off blocks versus Brown’s quickness.  The Ducks have to take away snaps from the Tigers defensive front with some semblance of a running attack.  Brown  may match up slightly better with the Ducks’ most versatile lineman, right guard Calvin Throckmorton (has actually played more at the tackle spot).   In 2018, Oregon ran much more than they passed on first down.  Passing on that down early in this contest could halt Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele from hiding the defense’s intentions in obvious passing situations. 

Herbert vs. Auburn third down disguise

For Herbert to enjoy sustained success in this contest, he and his offensive line have to be cognizant of Auburn’s multiple disguises and line games on third downs.  Dating back to his freshman campaign, he has protected the football relatively well.  However, Auburn tied for 24th in the nation a season ago with 14 interceptions.  Eight of the players responsible for 11 of those picks return, led by senior cornerback Javaris Davis.  Davis -the team’s longtime nickel back- enters 2019 with six career interceptions and one touchdown, and his pre-snap identification on this all-important down could help Herbert decipher the team’s final coverage.

There are times when Steele will show a five or six-man pressure look in the pre-snap and then rush just four defenders with a two-or-three-deep zone behind it (see Purdue, Music City Bowl ’18, 3rd and 10, 2nd QTR/14:14).  In these instances, Herbert’s patience will be tested.

Oregon’s answer may be a dummy snap count that will attempt to force Auburn to show its hand.  Herbert often looks to the sideline for the pre-snap adjustment before running the play (3rd and 8, 1st QTR, SJSU ’18-defensive pass interference).   In Week 3 of the 2018 campaign, San Jose State DC Derrick Odum would sometimes keep his linebackers and defensive linemen in stationary positions prior to bringing six-man pressures (3rd and 15, 1st QTR, incomplete pass, QB hit).  In these instances, Herbert displayed pocket toughness to deliver the ball while getting hit by the unblocked blitz threat. 

On the next five Oregon third down attempts (San Jose State ’18), the Ducks posted a false start (3rd and 9, 2nd QTR), an incompletion to a tight end in the end zone while backed up (3rd and 13, 2nd QTR), a one-yard completion (3rd and 13, 2nd QTR), an 11-yard completion (3rd and 8, 2nd QTR) and an incompletion (3rd and 8, 2nd QTR).  Many of the coverage concepts included two-or-three-deep zones mixed with split safety looks.

So what was the common theme prior to these third downs?

San Jose State’s front seven (led by former NT Boogie Roberts) wreaked havoc on first and second down.  The team’s linebackers reacted to what they saw and forced the action.  An inability to create forward movement in the running game (2.7 yards per carry) caused Oregon to stay in third and long much of the afternoon.  For the game, the Ducks converted 39-percent (7-of-18) of its third down attempts.  To even reach that mark against the Tigers front seven, Oregon OC Marcus Arroyo has to create manageable third downs for Herbert and his offensive line. 

There will be many games for Auburn to study when attempting to corral one of the 2020 NFL Draft’s top quarterback prospects in Herbert.  One could argue that the Michigan State defensive performance in the 2018 Redbox Bowl ranks at or near the top of the list.  Surprisingly, however, the job done by San Jose State DC Derrick Odum in slowing down Oregon’s offense has some intriguing hints for Auburn DC Kevin Steele.