Name: Derrick Brown
Position: Defensive tackle
40-yard dash: 5.16
20-yard shuttle: 4.79
View photos of NFL prospect Derrick Brown.
How he fits: The Lions have been busy reshaping the interior of their defensive line with the signing of Danny Shelton and Nick Williams in free agency. Both players have built a reputation as good run stuffers with the ability to push the pocket and affect the passing game as well. Williams had six sacks last season. Detroit also returns third-year defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand.
The team released veteran Damon Harrison Sr., A'Shawn Robinson signed with the Rams in free agency, and Mike Daniels remains a free agent, so it will definitely be a new look for the Lions upfront on defense.
A young player like Brown, who is considered the best interior defender in this draft, would certainly fit into that mix and round out the interior of Detroit's defensive line nicely.
Brown is a powerful and explosive defender who spends a lot of time in the opponent's backfield. He posted 55 tackles for the Tigers last year, tied for the team lead with 12.5 tackles for loss, recorded four sacks and four pass breakups, and caused two fumbles.
He's a versatile defender with position flexibility.
Key observations: Brown earned a 90.4 pass-rushing grade from Pro Football Focus last season, despite being the focal point of double teams week-in and week-out. He missed just five tackles in four years at Auburn.
What they had to say about him: "Defensive tackle with rare combination of size and disruptive traits who frequently bludgeoned inferior competition across from him. Brown's snap quickness allows him to take muddy running lanes by re-setting the line of scrimmage. He has the ability to power into gaps, but he really shines when he drops his anchor to stall double-teams or punch, press and prey on runners as a two-gapper.
"Brown's upright rush style means he might be more of a pressure rusher than a sack-man, but he should keep improving as a rusher with more dedication to the craft. He could become a high-impact starter early in his career with an All-Pro ceiling and good starter floor." – Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
How he stacks up: NFL.com gives Brown a grade of 7.1, which puts him in the Pro Bowl talent category. NFL.com grading goes up to 8.0 as a perfect prospect.
Scouts Inc. lists Brown as the No. 3 overall prospect in this class with a "rare prospect" grade.
Brown comes in at No. 4 on NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah's list of the Top 50 prospects in this draft.
NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks lists Brown as the top defensive tackle in the draft in his list of the top five players at each position.
"Brown is an absolute beast on the interior with a combination of size, strength and explosiveness that makes him nearly impossible to neutralize at the point of attack," Brooks wrote. "He throws blockers around like a bouncer at a nightclub, and his ferocity sets the tone for an edgy defense."
What he had to say: "Being coached in the system, we didn't really have (set) positions," Brown said at the Combine. "We played all the way from the zero to the five, and coach mentioned we had to be versatile at every position.
"I think just being able to knock back the line of scrimmage and create pressure that way, but also be able to play the run and create that knock back (are my best assets)."