Detroit Lions nation is sweeped up in the “Race for Chase” sweepstakes. Ask just about any Lions fan right now who their dream pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and there’s probably a 90 percent chance they’re going to answer Ohio State defensive end Chase Young.
And it’s for good reason. An elite pass rusher is one of the most coveted positions in the NFL, and Young appears to be a clear, elite talent that would make an immediate impact for any of the 32 teams in the league. For the Lions, it’s a cure to their pass rushing woes and an excellent complement to last offseason’s free agent acquisition in Trey Flowers.
While the Lions’ shot at Young remains fully possible, we also have to face facts here. Only one team is going to get him, and so even though it’s extremely early in draft season, we should probably broaden our scope of first-round options beyond one guy.
So today’s Question of the Day is:
Who is your favorite 2020 NFL Draft prospect not named Chase Young?
My answer: I’m not going to pretend like I’m deep in my draft research yet, but one name I’d like to see more people talking about is Auburn defensive tackle Derrick Brown. Fans are understandably focused on pressure from the edge, but the Lions like to utilize contain on the edges more than anything. They preach patience and disciplined to make sure quarterbacks—who are becoming more mobile by the day—can’t escape the pocket and beat them on the edges.
That means, in a lot of ways, pressure from the interior can be more important. This year, the Lions were hoping to rely upon Mike Daniels and Da’Shawn Hand to carry that load, but both dealt with a ton of injuries and barely made a blip on the radar in 2019. Daniels’ contract expires after the season and it’s unclear if the Lions can trust Hand to stay healthy long enough to make an impact.
Let’s get back to Brown. Though he only has 12.5 sacks as a three-year starter, he has 31.5 tackles for loss and he is still the kind of player that creates consistent pressure, making all the players around him better. Here’s what PFF’s Michael Renner had to say about Brown:
“Brown is one of the most physically dominant defensive tackles you’ll ever see in college football. He dictates the terms of every single one-on-one interaction along the line of scrimmage. The concern is whether or not he can produce on a large workload as a pass-rusher, and he’s answering that to some degree with a 90.4 pass-rushing grade this season.”
And don’t worry, Lions coaching staff, he’s pretty good at stopping the run, too:
If not #TheRaceForChase, I’m fully down for #TankTownForDerrickBrown.