Monday, 9 March 2009

Donald Brown - rising up the boards?

When it comes to running backs, a lot of attention has been focused on Knowshon Moreno, Chris 'Beanie' Wells and LeSean McCoy. However one prospect who has steadily created an impression is Connecticut's Donald Brown. Mike Mayock has recently labelled him a "first round pick" whilst fellow NFL Network analyst Charles Davis ranked him 10th on his overall big board. So what do we know about Brown?

For starters, statistically he was the best back in college football during 2008. He ran for 2083 yards (the only RB to top the 2000 mark) and added 18 touchdowns. He did carry the ball 60 more times than his nearest rival (Shonn Greene, 1850 yards-207 carries-20 TD's) but nonetheless his 5.7 YPC is certainly impressive. Overall he took 698 carries in his UConn career registering 3800 yards and 33 touchdowns. He's not the biggest at 210 lbs and 5'10" but he plays above his physical attributes.

Mike Mayock's review of Brown is certainly glowing, adding to his enhancing reputation:

"He has really good, not elite, speed. He has great explosion. You could see that in his 41½-inch vertical leap and how good and quick he was (a running back-best 11.30 seconds) in the 60-yard and in the 20-yard shuttle (second best in his group at 4.10 seconds). He's talented enough to play in any scheme. The one thing he'll have to learn is patience. He hurries his blockers.

"With running backs, it's patience to the hole, speed through the hole. He doesn't set up his linemen and his blocks as well as he can. But what he does have is tremendously nimble feet, and you see him running through tackles with his lower-body strength."- Mike Mayock

So is he a legitimate first round prospect and if not, does he become an option for the Seahawks in round two? It would be a surprise if Brown left the board before both Moreno and Wells. Trying to predict where any of the running backs will go has been difficult before and after the combine. There's no doubt that Moreno and Wells have top ten talent but without 'eye catching' combine performances they could realistically go anywhere from picks 12-32. The further they drop, the more chance Brown will fall into the second round.

Would he be an option for the Seahawks? The team signed Julius Jones and T.J Duckett in 2008 with this year in mind. At this stage it would appear they are likely to act as a double edged sword in the running game behind a zone blocking scheme. Is there room for a younger option to create an 'earth, wind and fire' system like we saw with the New York Giants last season? Possibly, and with needs filled via free agency the team can concentrate on best player available in the earlier rounds. If Seattle rate Brown as highly as Messrs Mayock and Davis he could be featuring at Qwest Field in September.


Misfit said...

I continue to be on board for us drafting a RB as early as round 2. Brown, McCoy, Jennings. I think JJ/Duckett will be fine, but maybe only average. We need playmakers on offense. Brown would be one.

Rotak said...

You want proof Mayock doesn't have a clue what he is talking about: I just started scouting Brown, and the thing everyone is praising is his patience. IMO he plays a bit like a smaller, tough Shaun Alexander. Changes speeds and gears really well, has good burst, but also picks and slides to find the hole and waits for it. I'm not sure he's really a good fit for a zone scheme that stresses "1 cut and go". Not that he couldn't, he is very good at cutting and he has the burst to go, but his patience is a lot of his value.

Anyways, I really like Brown. He's tentatively the #2 back on my board, but I still haven't really seen McCoy or Greene.