Skip to main content
Presented by

Rookie diaries: Deonte Brown feeling faster


SPARTANBURG — Deonte Brown wants to stand out in training camp.

But not for the reason he stood out at the Senior Bowl.

The Panthers rookie offensive lineman is feeling more at home in training camp for a couple of reasons, beginning with the fact they're finally in full pads, allowing him to get back to the power-based game he's most comfortable with.

"I was really looking forward to putting on pads," Brown said after practice this week. "One so we can actually feel the pass rush, feel the run defense. It's not really that we were going through the motions before, but we didn't have to hold back when you have pads on; that's when you learn the most football."

And if it's just about football, Brown feels pretty comfortable about what he'll be able to do.

He was one of the most dominant run-blockers in college football at Alabama, but when he showed up at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. in January, there was simply too much of him.

At the weigh-in there, he was 364 pounds, and it was not a particularly well-defined 364. He knows that, and it's a large part of the reason the Panthers were able to take such a decorated player (he was All-SEC for an offense that averaged 48.5 points per game) in the sixth round.

Since then, he's taken seriously the work he needs to do to give him a chance to be a contributor here. He's worked with Panthers director of performance nutrition Kate Callaway to develop a plan that works for him. The results are visible. He was already under 350 pounds by the time he showed up at rookie minicamp, and he said he's comfortable in the 345 range at the moment, though it's a different 345.

"It's going pretty good. I feel a lot faster now that I've lost a few more," Brown said. "And to me, it's not even about how much I weigh; it's about how I look when I play. I don't want to be that massive human being that sticks out. I want to kind of blend in with the other guys, but also still be that kind of mauler.

"I've cut down more fat on my body than actual weight. I'm still around 345. but it looks different."

Deonte Brown

Panthers head coach Matt Rhule said in May that their expectations for Brown were realistic.

"I don't think he's ever going to be a 310-pound guy," Rhule said. "That's just not who he is. He's a big, powerful man. . . . I would love it if he was in the, ... most guys wish he'd be in the 330s, but he might be a 340-pound guy."

That's in the neighborhood where he is now. If Brown can be in the kind of shape to stay on the field, he could become a contributor sooner rather than later.

He's already gotten some scattered reps with the first offensive line in practice, though he's not a regular there.

He's still working to prove himself, and that's something that's going to happen off the field as much as on it.

"Yeah, I feel like that's my biggest thing I have to prove to them," Brown said. "They already know I can play, or they wouldn't have got me in the draft. And they already know I'm coachable.

"This is the only obstacle I have in my way, is earning their trust to get my weight down."

View photos from Thursday's training camp practice at Wofford.

Related Content