It wasn’t that long ago that Everette Brown was worth a first-round pick.
Now he’s on his third team in a calendar year.
But with a strong showing in his first preseason game, Brown’s hoping to make a name for himself with the Lions. He had 1.5 sacks and hit the quarterback four times against Cleveland Friday.
“I really can’t put my finger on any issue there,” Brown told Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “But one thing’s for sure, it’s been a learning curve for me throughout my career, especially this last year.
“The chip on my shoulder’s bigger than ever. Every time I get on the field, every time I get an opportunity to play, I want to make sure that I perform to my level.”
Once upon a time, that level was viewed differently.
Desperate for a fallback plan for the soon-to-be departing Julius Peppers, the Panthers traded a 2010 first-round pick to take Brown 43rd overall in 2009. But the spin move that made him a successful pass-rusher at Florida State never translated, and when Ron Rivera took over the Panthers in 2011, Brown was cut after two uninspiring seasons (6.0 sacks).
He signed with San Diego in November, but cut in March when the Lions gave him another chance.
After bouncing between a 4-3 and a 3-4 and back, he looked more comfortable Friday. While he said his weight was the same (260-ish), he looked sluggish in 2010 when he bulked up to try to play the run better.
“Friday, he was around the quarterback and he’s skilled enough to do that,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “He fits our scheme well. He made some plays for us in the game. He’s still developing within our scheme. We play a little different than other people. I think he fits real well and he’s had a good camp.”
Between Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Willie Young, the Lions have a solid base of talent at defensive end. Tapping into Brown’s talent would give them a bonus, at a time when Brown’s first team doesn’t have nearly enough players who can get to the quarterback.