The Cowboys signed free agent defensive end Everette Brown Tuesday, adding to a growing stable of highly touted draft commodities along the defensive line that for reasons unknown didn’t pan out elsewhere.
Defensive line coach Rod Marinelli’s newest toy was a second-round pick in 2009 for the Carolina Panthers, and was supposed to replace Julius Peppers, who at the time was making noise about wanting to leave Carolina. As if that weren’t enough pressure on a 22-year-old, the Panthers had traded up to get Brown with the 43rd overall pick, giving up next year’s first round selection to do so.
It wasn’t crazy to think Brown was a steal in the second round. As a junior in 2008, his final year at Florida State, Brown ranked third in the nation with 13.5 sacks, and fourth with 21.5 tackles for loss. He was second-team All American, the ACC Player of the Year runner up (losing out to CJ Spiller), and a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the nation’s top defensive end (won by Brian Orakpo that year).
Scouting reports all over the web projected Brown as a first round talent, comparing him to fellow 2009 draftee Orakpo, as well as undersized NFL star Dwight Freeney. But at 6’4”, Orakpo went 13th overall to Washington, and at 6’1”, Brown began to slide.
Despite the high expectations of the organization, Brown never broke out of a reserve role. Carolina was a franchise in decline in 2009. The team was coming off Jake Delhomme’s epic six-turnover performance against the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round of the playoffs. Just a season later, they would sink to 2-14 and blow up the organization.