Best Scheme Fit: Primary slot
receiver; size/strength should allow him to serve as the X (split
end) once pro position coach refines his ability to defeat press
Big physical receiver who spent the bulk of his college career
in the slot, unafraid of working over the middle or in tight
Has a great knack for escaping sticky situations when surrounded
by multiple defenders and transitions quickly from receiver
to running back after the catch. (1:50,
1:53, 2:07, 3:23, 3:45, 4:27)
Strong hands show up time after time; easily plucks the ball
outside his frame. (0:02, 0:41, 1:14, 5:50)
Crafty route-runner who creates separation quickly by adjusting
tempo and/or setting up his routes nicely (7:26,
9:00), and can sell the double-move.
Tends to uncover against zone coverage or when "scramble
rules" apply. (1:14, 2:59, 4:54, 11:57)
Tracks the ball well over his shoulder on the deep ball.
(0:15, 1:02, 4:03, 5:10)
Although he isn't a contested-catch maestro, he combines
above-average body control with excellent field awareness. (4:37,
Answered questions about his ability to win against outside
corners following D.K. Metcalf's season-ending neck injury but
may not have the kind of explosion to consistently do so at
the pro level.
Lackluster production in the games featuring the most pro-level
competition (Alabama, LSU); only caught more than four passes
once and did not exceed 10 yards per reception in any of those
four contests in 2017 and 2018.
Quicker than fast, but big frame doesn't allow for him to
stop/start or accelerate quickly.
Did not always display a "my ball" mentality to
an underthrown ball. (1:37, 9:33)
Plays with an edge and is a feisty competitor, but there
were several instances in 2018 in which he was close to getting
flagged for taunting.
It doesn't take long before three things become very clear about
Brown: he is a big man with strong hands and an ability to make
something happen after the catch. Per Pro Football Focus, he forced
17 broken tackles and only dropped five passes on 90 catchable
targets in 2018. He also had 24 receptions of 20-plus yards (fifth
in FBS). Outside of the last few games of the 2018 season in which
Metcalf was sidelined, Brown spent the overwhelming majority of
his college career in the slot. Let's just say unlike other slot
receivers, this particular one doesn't seem the least bit scared
working inside the hashes and routinely gets separation on drags
Brown's career YPC of 15.8 (16.7 in 2017 and 15.5 in 2018) might
suggest he is a player capable of stretching the field at the
next level. He did himself a favor by running in the 4.4s at the
NFL Combine, but he is not exactly a burner. However, that's a
common misnomer most fans have about playing receiver. If speed
was all it ever took to get deep, Trindon Holliday, Jacoby Ford
and Darrius Heyward-Bey would be among the best ever to play the
game. There is nuance that goes along with it and Brown has that,
thanks in part to his ability to vary his stride length, adjust
the tempo of his route and the respect he demands as a short and
intermediate receiver with impressive run-after-catch ability.
The biggest question I have at this point for Brown is whether
or not his NFL team wants to try him on the outside or prefers
to let him serve as a chain-mover initially. There's not much
doubt in my mind he will have a productive career at the next
level but, like much of the rest of this draft class of receivers,
I'm not sure I see a player capable of being his team's lead receiver.
I think he will instantly spark whatever offense he is on, if
only because teammates tend to love it when a receiver doesn't
short-arm balls and is willing to get physical after the catch.
Those are two more boxes that Brown checks. I also think he has
the safest floor of any receiver I have evaluated to this point.
As such, Brown is a player I would expect to come off the board
late in the first round or early in the second round.
Doug Orth has written for FF
Today since 2006 and been featured in USA Today’s Fantasy
Football Preview magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today’s
hour-long, pre-kickoff fantasy football internet chat every Sunday
in 2012-13 and appears as a guest analyst on a number of national
sports radio shows, including Sirius XM’s “Fantasy Drive”.
Doug is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.