Tyeler Davison has been good up the middle for Atlanta this season, but they might have a game-changing interior player fall into their laps after missing on Ed Oliver and Quinnen Williams in the last draft.
Grady Jarrett is a bonafide superstar and might finally be on his way to his much-deserved first Pro-Bowl. However, he can’t do it all on his own. Derrick Brown would be a huge help in remedying the Falcons’ lackadaisical rushing defense. The edge is the sorest spot on the Falcons defense, but pairing Brown with Jarrett can provide a stronger push up the middle to free up Takk McKinley and whoever Atlanta lines up alongside him next season, assuming they move on from Vic Beasley.
Brown is a massive man, standing 6’5″, 318 pounds, he’s been a critical piece of Kevin Steele’s defense at Auburn. The Tigers are only allowing 3.07 yards per carry with four touchdowns on the season, mostly in part to the presence and leadership of the Senior defensive tackle.
The Sugar Hill, GA native was a 5-star recruit, ranked as the ninth-best player in the country, and 1st defensive tackle of a 2016 class that included Dexter Lawrence, Ed Oliver, and Nick Bosa. Defensive tackles usually aren’t stat sheet stuffers, but Brown has three sacks and four tackles for loss in seven games this season. He’s also swatted down three passes, forced two fumbles and recovered two more. If it weren’t for him tripping over his own feet against Florida, he’d have a touchdown. Brown was the one piece keeping Auburn competitive against a tough Gators squad, forcing two fumbles and recovering another. Over his four-year career, he has 11.5 Sacks, 25.5 TFL, 133 tackles, seven pass deflections, four fumbles recovered, and five fumbles forced.
Brown is a gamer. He clogs holes and wrecks gameplans, something we haven’t seen the Falcons do in a while. Like our draft darling Chase Young, Brown has an impeccable motor and doesn’t give up on plays. He has a strong club move that can knock offensive lineman silly and has a knack for disengaging blockers to create chaos in the backfield.
Even though he’s on the taller side, he gets excellent leverage and uses his powerful legs to his advantage for a good push. He’s an explosive athlete with outstanding instincts to sniff out screens and draws, and it’s hard to find a more athletic guy at his size. He tends to get a little out of control, but that’s just because he plays at such an intense level. Proper coaching will be key to his development. He’s got pretty great pursuit for a big guy, and a combination of him and Grady Jarrett will create interior pressure the Falcons haven’t ever seen.
I think the best comparison for him is fellow former SEC star, Chris Jones. Jones has since switched to DE, but he has similar size and nastiness about him, notching 15.5 sacks last season for the Chiefs with a pick-six and two forced fumbles. Brown’s stats won’t jump off of the board immediately, but his impact will be felt all around the defense. Interior hell will allow Grady Jarrett to have a field day, leaving more room for the ends and linebackers to work. Brown is a fantastic backup plan if Chase Young is off the board.