Chris Brown NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 190 pounds
Chris Brown 2021 NFL Draft Profile
Positionless football is on the rise in the NFL – particularly on defense. Some view Chris Brown as a slot cornerback prospect but he lined up all over the field for Texas in college. Brown is listed as a free safety prospect and the versatility he offers is a huge plus point for his draft stock. However, the lack of size for a traditional safety in the pros and occasional coverage bust in college are huge question marks ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.
A Texas native born in Houston, Brown was listed as a three-star recruit coming out of Alief Elsik High School in 2016. He received scholarship offers from over 20 Power-5 programs, including, Florida, Michigan, and Florida State. Brown committed to home-state Texas. As a redshirt freshman in 2017 Brown largely contributed on special teams which is a boost for his prospects of catching on with an NFL team.
He was a role player as a sophomore in 2018 as well. Brown started just two games and made 12 tackles, one interception, and one sack. However, Brown finally became a full-time starter for the Longhorns his junior year. In 2019, he racked up 46 total tackles and made another interception. His stats were almost identical over nine starts in 2020. Brown recorded another 46 tackles and one interception but added a career-high seven pass defenses.
- Scheme versatile – lined up all over the field for Texas;
- Good read and react skills – up in a flash against the run, doesn’t often bite on play-action;
- Smooth all-around athlete – Fast enough, good change of direction skills;
- Plays with a lot of energy – Flies around the field;
- Team Leader – Defensive captain.
- A little undersized for the position – looks a little smaller on tape than 191-pound pro-day weight;
- Average tackler;
- Doesn’t move laterally with speed – Struggle to string out a run to the outside and make an open-field tackle;
- Can’t cover Tight Ends in the NFL – will get thrown around;
- Sub-par block shedder – gets locked onto blocks too often against the run
NFL Comparison: P.J. Williams
The New Orleans Saints selected Williams in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The Saints safety has lined up all over the field since turning professional but in 2020 he played mostly as a free safety. He has racked up 191 total tackles over six seasons in the league and five interceptions all with the Saints. Brown won’t be drafted as highly and needs to work on his tackling to get to Williams’ productivity. However, the versatility in coverage the two offer is similar.
Teams With Need at Position: Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Football Team
Projection: Day 3 Pick
Bottom Line on Chris Brown
Chris Brown offers some value as a late-round target for teams looking to add depth in the secondary. His experience on special teams in college is a boost to his draft value as teams will be confident Brown can contribute in that area. Lining up all over the field for the Longhorns is also a plus point as he showed a good feel for both zone and man coverage. Scheme versatility is a huge plus for late-round picks looking to make it on the opening day roster.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact Brown is undersized for the traditional NFL safety. The lack of size is why many scouts see him more as a slot cornerback prospect than free safety. If he is to be a full-time slot cornerback then the physicality to take on blockers in the run game and the open field tackling are not at the level they need to be yet. His coverage ability is generally positive but he doesn’t quite have the athletic traits to consistently play over the top of the defense in the NFL.
Overall, Chris Brown has a lot of traits scouts will like on tape. He offers versatile ability in coverage, is a good enough athlete to compete, and plays with high energy that his teammates feed off. However, he’s not quite as physical as most coaches will be looking for in an NFL safety and will likely rely on his special teams experience to crack an NFL roster as a rookie.
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