Southern Mississippi Junior
Has intriguing size and speed combination that can be a matchup nightmare for many corners. Shows long speed due to his long strides to get downfield and get behind the defense. Flashes hands to snag the ball out of the air. Can be a load to tackle after the catch on wide receiver screens due to his size. Can be an effective blocker out on the edge for similar reasons.
Not sudden in his speed and burst, and is slow off the line. Is raw as a route-runner and doesn't run a variety of routes. Doesn't play with great awareness or concentration. Dances too much going east and west after the catch. Doesn't do a great job securing the ball after the catch and his hands are inconsistent leading to drops and defenders being able to rip it out.
Brown broke out as a freshman with 67 catches for 1117 yards (16.7 avg) and 12 touchdowns before breaking his leg in the bowl game. That limited him the following year, where his production tailed off: 47 catches, 785 yards, 16.7 yards, and 9 touchdowns. He also suffered through a shoulder injury during that year. He came back as a junior this past year, but missed 7 games due to a lower leg strain and finished with just 19 catches for 306 yards (16.1 avg) and 3 touchdowns. The problem is that while Brown has intriguing upside, he was never on the field enough or showed the sort of polish to really like his chances. He's big and fast, but that won't be as much an asset in the pros as it was in college. The injuries are a concern and he just seems very raw.
Brown is the type of player that you stash on your depth chart for three years and then hope at some point the light comes on and he starts to contribute. He's the type of player that in past years teams would use second or third round picks on, but then not cut him because they like his upside, but he sits on the inactive list pretty much every week during his first two or three seasons. And then three or so years down the road, they want him to step up, he doesn't, and they cut him. He does have potential, but the sort that is probably a long way off from coming to fruition that I don't think the team that drafts him will get a return on their investment. I think I'd compare him to someone like Mikhael Ricks, and I think ultimately because of how raw he is as a receiver, he's better off being moved to H-back and tight end like Ricks was made several years into his career. He's a project there because of his limited blocking ability, but his lack of route-running skills and polish and less than ideal hands won't be as big an issue at that position as they are at wide receiver. He's not a guy that is going to separate from NFL cornerbacks and isn't reliable enough to make catches in traffic. And unless he is able to produce early on special teams coverage, then he gives you really no incentive to keep him on your roster and active. If I was an NFL team, I would let the CFL, AFL, or another team do the dirty work of developing and then only try to pounce on him five or so years down the road. Now if he does develop, then he has the potential to be a wideout reminiscent of what Mike Williams was this past year in Seattle. But that's not a positive since we all know Williams was highly drafted in 2005, and it wasn't until this past year (five years later) that he made any sort of real NFL impact. Another comparison would be Mario Urrutia, who the Bengals drafted in the seventh round in 2008, and he spent his rookie season on their practice squad. Then was cut the following summer, spent a few months with the Jets before landing on Tampa Bay's practice squad in 2009, and then got cut last summer by the Bucs, followed by being cut by a UFL team. A team that takes Brown and expects dramatically better results than Detroit had with Mike Williams or Cincinnati had with Urrutia is probably fooling themselves.
Unless the Falcons are supremely patient with Brown is he a good fit here. He might have some potential to develop as a tight end, and Ricks did play two years behind Tony Gonzalez in Kansas City, and then went to Detroit where he was a decent starter. Probably not a coincidence. So that could mean Brown could benefit similarly from playing behind Gonzalez, but if it's only one season it's probably not going to make a big difference. Either way, Brown is a long-term project that probably won't even pay dividends in a reserve role until at least three or four years down the road.
In terms of his potential, Brown is a fourth round pick. But because of his long development time, a team should probably wait and sign him as an undrafted free agent. But I woudn't fault a team from taking a flyer on him at the end of the seventh round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
After Catch: 3.0
Body Control: 2.5
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.