OB JONATHAN BROWN, ILLINOIS

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6’1” – 230 lbs. – 4.70e

STATISTICAL PROFILE:

2010: 31 – 1.5 – 0.5, 1 FF, 1 INT (1 TD)
2011: 108 – 19.5 – 6.0, 3 QBH, 1 FF, 1 FR, 4 PD, 1 INT
2012: 59 – 9.5 – 3.5, 1 FF, 1 PD
2013: 119 – 15.0 – 5.0, 3 QBH, 1 FF, 4 PD, 1 INT

OVERVIEW:

Played in twelve games as a true freshman, contributing extensively in a reserve capacity. Started eleven of twelve games played in the following season, then started all nine games he played in as a junior, missing the final three due to a shoulder injury. Played in twelve games as a senior.

POSITIVES:

•    Was a three-year starter in a major conference; also contributed extensively in 2010.
•    Played at 230 pounds as a senior, but weighed 237 pounds during his freshman year.
•    Effective downhill player who made plenty of play in opposing backfields vs. the run.
•    Also contributed as a productive blitzer, increasing value for aggressive 4-3 defenses.
•    When attacking, had more success against opposing blockers than size would suggest.
•    Arms look longer than average for size, remembers to wrap when attempting tackles.
•    Comfortable and controlled in coverage drops, with above-average straight-line speed.
•    Lined up on the weakside in college, but may also be able to take snaps in the middle.

NEGATIVES:

•    Combination of height and weight are barely adequate for a pro linebacker prospect.
•    Not tall enough to line up against most tight ends, probably limited to covering backs.
•    Likely restricted to playing in a 4-3 defense, lacks the bulk preferred by most 3-4 fronts.
•    Doesn’t anchor very well, can be knocked off-balance by blockers; is better downhill.
•    Better when given a gap to shoot than when reacting to developments in run defense.
•    When out of position, isn’t strong enough to bring down runners through arm tackles.
•    Didn’t make many plays in coverage, getting his hands on only twelve passes in total.

SUMMARY:

An undersized linebacker who combines solid athleticism, effective gap-shooting, and sound tackling technique, Browns started on the weakside for the Illini, which doubles as his best fit as a pro. Although he’s not ideally suited to man-coverage responsibilities against opposing tight ends, he offers the ability of rush the passer and drop into zone coverage versus the pass, with effective pursuit skills as a run defender. At the next level, he would fit best in a 4-3 defense which incorporates plenty of blitzing, while teams running odd fronts will probably look elsewhere. Although he may never become a starter, he offers some value in sub packages.

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