This post is a catharsis of sorts as I finally need to come to terms with the fact that Everette Brown just might not have 'it'. Entering his third season I was sure he was going to become a different player in a mobile, blitz happy scheme that would allow for him to move around the field a little more, ultimately rewarding his speed rather than playing solely on the edge and getting him into a strength battle. Since Brown's first season in Carolina he's bulked up considerably, adding between 15-20 lbs to his frame while retaining his speed (not easy to do), but in the end this has seemed to be for naught.
Greg Hardy, a 2010 6th round pick is now the starter at RDE and it appears the first man off the bench will be 4th round pick Eric Norwood. At this point Brown is buried on the chart, and deservedly so, he just doesn't make enough of an impact on the field regularly. A few months ago I looked at some charting statistics for Hardy and Brown that put both players on the precipice of making an impact, and they did in the limited snaps they had in 2010. However, while Hardy will get a shot to showcase his ability, Brown is mélange of mediocrity.
More after the jump
When the Carolina Panthers made the bold trade to sacrifice their 1st round pick in 2010 to select Everette Brown in 2009 and Mike Goodson (the Panthers got the 49ers 4th round pick in the trade) I liked the deal out of the gate. I felt that Brown projected better to the NFL than the 1st/2nd round DEs set to enter the league in 2010; thus far the only DE who the Panthers could have selected who has made has made an impact is the Bengals' Carlos Dunlap.
Brown looked like a poor man's Dwight Freeney, undersized? Sure, but he showed an insatiable motor at FSU and never gave up on plays. When you see this kind of effort being put forth in college, defensive players normally transition well, typically the busts are players who the college game came easily to, but can't make an impact in the NFL are aren't willing to put the work in. As it stands we've never heard of Brown being a lazy player in practice, or having a bad attitude... he just doesn't effect the game like he should be able to when given his shots.
In this way Brown could very well be the Matt Moore of the defense; a player who can perform well when he steps in for limited time, but when the spotlight is on and he needs to take his spot he falters. Never has this been more prevalent than during the 2011 preseason where he was given a chance to start against New York, and get significant playing time against Miami, but has yet to register a single tackle. This, coupled with a stupid unnecessary roughness penalty against the Dolphins that cost the Panthers 15 yards (which led to a FG) put the cherry on the top of an inauspicious way to start 2011.
This season is all about players stepping up, grabbing the brass ring and not letting go. We've seen all manner of players doing just this from Cam Newton and Armanti Edwards on offense, to Sione Fua and Corvey Irvin on defense- players who are stepping up, doing what they can and earning a spot on the starting team. Thus far it has been Everette Brown's opportunity to lose, and he's done a very good job squandering it. Unfortunately, my optimism for his future as an impact player is gone, and hopefully he can do something for us in the future.