The Detroit Lions’ signing of free agent defensive end Everette Brown was certainly an under-the-radar addition. In fact, the only fanfare it received on the Detroit Lions official website is a mention in an article that also included news about the re-signing of Ashlee Palmer and Will Heller. However, that doesn’t mean that the move doesn’t have the potential for rewards in the future.
Everette Brown was regarded as a first-round talent when he entered the 2009 NFL Draft but slipped into the early part of the second because of concerns about his size. There were questions about whether he should be an outside linebacker, a position he didn’t play in college and therefore had little to no experience dropping into coverage, or remain as an undersized defensive end. The Carolina Panthers used Brown as a defensive end where he recorded six sacks, three forced fumbles and 35 tackles in his two seasons (2009, 2010) with the team. He was released just before the 2011 season began and didn’t sign with a team until the San Diego Chargers picked him up last November.
Lions fans will recall that Cliff Avril faced some of the same questions when he came out of Purdue. Avril is about an inch and a half taller than Brown but both weighed in the 250-range when they attended their respective combines.
Time will tell if the Lions can draw results out of Everette Brown that they’ve been able to get out of Cliff Avril but there are certainly some similarities. Brown has some work to do to crack the Lions deep defensive end rotation but now has a coaching staff with a proven track record of developing pass rushers and an example to model himself after in Cliff Avril. Needless to say, it’s a low-risk gamble worth taking.