When Matt Rhule described what he liked about Derrick Brown when they met at the Senior Bowl, Carolina's head coach pointed to a specific relationship the defensive tackle had at Auburn.
"He kept talking about his defensive line coach and how much his defensive line coach meant to him," Rhule said soon after the Panthers made Brown their first-round pick last week.
"Here's a man that's getting ready to make a bunch of money and he's talking about how much (his defensive line coach) has impacted his life. A – I said that must be a great defensive line coach, coach (Rodney) Garner. At the same time, I said (Brown) is someone that really connects and it really kind of grabbed me."
It's been a few months since that meeting in January. But after going from Auburn student-athlete to the draft's No. 7 overall pick, Brown is still just as grateful for his relationship with Garner. Asked what made his relationship with his former coach so special, Brown began with his recruiting process.
"Coming out of high school, Coach G had a reputation for putting guys in the league. I wanted that dream. I wanted to be in that situation," Brown said. "I'm proud I get to add my name to that list of guys that he was able to coach and put in there."