Name: Keith Brown
School: Western Kentucky
Position fit: 3-4 inside linebacker
Stats to know: Ranked third in all of FBS in run-stop percentage.
What he does best:
- Ranked fourth among 2017 ILBs with at least 50 pass-rush snaps in pass-rush productivity in 2016; his seven sacks ranks second in the ILB class to Houston’s Steven Taylor, who had 98 more reps.
- Has the bulk and physicality to take on blockers at the line of scrimmage – measured 6-foot-0 ½ and 246 pounds at pro day.
- 25 bench reps at pro day would have tied him for second among all LBs at combine.
- Does an effective job of identifying pullers and working across them to stay free and make the tackle.
- Intercepted two passes and broke up another four in 2016; big part of his 90.5 coverage grade that was second-best among FBS linebackers.
- Susceptible to giving up the big play in coverage; was charged four plays that went 30-plus yards in 2016.
- Lacks the athleticism to play every down at the next level; at his pro day he posted a 4.84 40, 4.63 short shuttle and 7.49 3-cone.
- While he is a capable block-shedder, he tends to get too absorbed with them; needs to work on technique to keep outside arm free in order to control gap and shed to ball in time for stop.
- Speed issues show up immediately in coverage – lacks ability to close effectively in front and can’t stay with receivers in man coverage either across the field or down the middle on seam routes.
- Will try to deliver a blow but runners will tend to bounce off of him; needs to do a more consistent job of wrapping up and securing tackles.
Player comparison: A.J. Klein, Carolina Panthers
Klein has the strength and instincts to be an effective run defender on the interior, but his athletic limitations leave him exposed in coverage. He was a regular contributor on special teams between 2013 and 2015, racking up 13 tackles and five assists in that span.
Bottom line: Brown does not have the athletic profile to start at the next level. His speed limitations are glaring on outside runs and coverage, as he has to take extreme angles and give up yardage in order to make plays to the boundary. While he graded well at his level of competition in college, his speed issues were still apparent in limited man coverage situations and there are serious questions as to whether this area of his game will translate to the NFL. He has some potential as a two-down run-stuffer because of his ability versus blockers, but will need to make a large impact on special teams in order to stick.