Positives: Good size and athleticism for the cornerback position. Turns and runs well with receivers in man coverage despite an elite 40 yard dash time. Is effective in press-man coverage and does a good job working for a jam and then turning to mirror the receiver on their route downfield. Brown shows good ability as a run defender as he is a pretty good wrap up tackler and shows good closing speed to dart in and tackle a running back on the outside. He also showed that he can set the edge and force the ball carrier back inside towards the rest of the backside pursuit. Flashes the ability to get off receiver blocks in the flat and make a play on a ball carrier in the open field. Shows some ball skills as he can locate the ball and make plays on it effectively (5 INT’s, 17 pass break-ups the past two years). He also was not targeted much as a senior, as teams seemed to avoid Brown and Jimmy Smith in coverage, preferring to attack their nickel or dime corners when they were in more obvious passing situations.
Negatives: Brown makes too many mental errors for my liking. In one instance he was in man coverage and was in good position and as he located the ball he flipped his hips as if he was going to make a play on it but he completely misjudged the ball, tried to turn and run again and fell down. He is also not effective in zone coverage for this reason, plus his footwork needs work. Rarely do I see him make a straight back-pedal, it is usually just press-man coverage and then turning to run and slide steps in off-man or zone coverage. He wastes steps in his transitions which hurts his closing speed and limits his potential in zone. He isn’t consistent when getting off blocks from receivers in the flat and he also isn’t the most consistent wrap-up tackler, as he will tackle high occasionally and be forced to drag the defender down. Brown is definitely going to have his struggles in zone in the NFL though.
Overall: Brown is a pretty good man coverage corner but if you are looking for a well-rounded corner that can play man and zone then Brown is not your guy. I think Brown has the potential to be a #3 and eventually #2 in a man-heavy scheme but without significant improvement on his footwork and with his game awareness I don’t think he will ever be much of a zone corner, which hurts his value. He has some ability and has shown that he can be a reliable starter and commanded enough respect opposite Jimmy Smith to not be tested constantly, in fact he was not tested very often at all. He has enough ball skills that he can make teams pay for challenging him in man coverage. He also supports the run fairly well and if he can get stronger and work on shedding blocks he could be effective in this area. Brown’s downfall may be the mental aspect of the game, plus the fact that he likes to get a bit handsy in coverage beyond the five yard marker, which will draw penalties in the NFL. That part of his technique can be cleaned up with coaching however.
Projection: 4th round. This is a pretty deep cornerback class so I could see him going a bit lower than this, but I think he has enough ability in man coverage that he will get a look in this area.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Man Coverage: 3.5
Zone Coverage: 2.5
Ball Skills: 3.0
Thanks for reading!