Name: Jayon Brown
Position fit: 4-3 Will linebacker
Stats to know: In 2016, opposing QBs had a rating of 50.4 when throwing into his coverage.
What he does best:
- Has the fluid athleticism of a safety in coverage – stays low in his pedal, can transition effectively with burst.
- Has no problem getting depth down the seams.
- Could be effective at Will on run downs; needs to be able to operate in space in order to avoid blocks.
- Improved drastically in coverage this past season, as he gave up 64.7 percent completions with six total passes defensed in 2016, compared to 83.9 percent completions, no PDs and a 112.9 QB rating against in 2015.
- 19th in run-stop percentage and ninth in tackling efficiency in 2016.
- 26 pressures on 117 combined rushes in 2015 and 2016 suggest his edge speed can also be utilized in the capacity at the next level.
- Can’t take on blocks but will play to leverage to maintain gap assignment.
- Finished ninth in tackling efficiency; consistently wraps up and attacks low, using his athleticism to finish to the ball carrier.
- Undersized linebacker. Gets engulfed by offensive linemen in the run game.
- While he doesn’t show fear taking on blockers at the line of scrimmage, he’s too easily sealed out of plays.
- Not sold that his college play against the run will translate to the NFL – will likely need to switch positions or could be a situational player.
- Lack of size likely to limit his effectiveness against tight ends in man coverage.
Bottom line: From an advanced statistical stance, Brown was one of the best linebackers in college football in 2016. He is a consistent tackler that finds ways to make plays in the run game despite his size limitations, and can also use his agility and burst to blitz effectively on pass rushes. His true next-level value is in his coverage ability, as he has the agility and closing speed of a safety and pairs his athleticism with excellent instincts in both zone and man coverage. While his size will again likely limit him in man coverage against bigger tight ends, he can also use his athleticism to effectively play the ball in the air. Because of his poor bulk and strength against blockers, he will have his struggles in the run game at the next level, and likely will not be viewed by some teams as an every-down player. Brown provides a valuable Day 3 option who can contribute on passing downs.