Marlon Davidson and Derrick Brown have done just about everything together, from the time they were recruited to their time spent as the fiercest defensive line duo in the SEC.
They were even roommates a couple weeks ago at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, just like when they were roommates in school.
Last Friday, they went through one last workout together on Auburn’s practice field, making their sendoff from the familiar stomping grounds in front of scouts at Pro Day. Maybe, soon enough, they’ll both be first-rounders together in the NFL Draft.
Either way, both are enjoying the experience.
And even if they’re going their separate ways, they’ll be doing it with a smile.
“It feels good, living out your childhood dream,” Davidson said on Friday, after running through drills for scouts from across the NFL. “A lot of kids have aspirations of playing in the NFL or playing anywhere professionally. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. But I have the dream — or I have the goal, or the opportunity — to actually do it now.
“So I’m fixin’ to live it up,” Davidson smiled, his grin always infectious. “I’m fixin’ to be happy about it, to smile about it and just wait for my name to be called.”
Brown and Davidson both swept up Auburn fans this past season with larger-than-life personalities that matched their imposing sizes. The two trash-talked through a public race to see who could win SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week most often this past season — and as Davidson racked up four wins and Brown won it three times, they made absolute child’s play of the award.
Now, as they prepare for the NFL, they don’t see each other daily like before, but they still talk every day. How do those conversations go?
“I’ll usually call him and be like, ‘Hey fat boy, what you doing?’” Davidson laughed.
Friday they had their chance to be together in person again, one more time — until the next time.
“I told Marlon last night, it’s been fun,” Brown said Friday. “I love this guy. He’s like a brother to me. I wouldn’t treat him different than anybody in my own family.”
Brown, inside at defensive tackle, established himself as a sure-fire first-rounder on most projections last year, and was a star for Auburn all through the 2019 season on his way to All-American honors.
Davidson, meanwhile, made his own mark at defensive end, and last week at the Combine impressed even more. He could be drafted as high as the first round as well, according to WalterFootball.com.
“They both improved,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said. “You’re talking about some high-character guys who played at a high level in the SEC. They were dominant. They weren’t just good players; they were dominant players. They both performed very well.
“They both have that ‘wow’ factor.”
Now their hard work is about to pay off. Top-10 picks Brown could be are expected to earn contracts worth more than $20 million, according to projections from Sportrac.com. First-round picks all project to have contracts worth more than $10 million. Brown announced Tuesday on Instagram that he had signed an endorsement deal with Nike.
And at the same time, neither is ruling out their chance to play together again someday.
“I’m going to miss playing with my brother now,” Davidson said. “Hopefully in the league, somebody will take both of us. They’ll trade up and come get both of us and then we’ll wreak havoc for sure then,” he smiled.
The NFL Draft is set to open April 23 in Las Vegas.
“It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for all my life — but, you know, it’s just the beginning,” Brown said.