FanPost

Our Mystery Rush OLB

 

We were all pretty upset when the Jets did not draft an OLB in this years draft. All of our OLB's were getting up in years, and we wondered why we did not draft one, although we did improve another area of need on the DL. Yet the question remained, why did we not take an OLB in the later rounds of this year's draft? The theories flew around, ranging from we were waiting until next year for a better class, to Crackback's (who I greatly respect) theory that OLB's were not important to Rex. It did not seem possible to me that we would leave this gaping hole in our defense. With our FA problem of Cap space, and the need to resign our own FA, it could not be we were looking to the solution in the FA market. We had to have the solution already on the team. So I checked out what we had.  

As I wrote in a comment on another post: It seems Westerman and Cody Brown are our young OLB of the future. Westerman was an undrafted free agent that we picked up after the ‘09 draft. The only evaluation I have found concerning him before the draft summed him up: "Average quickness. Not necessarily bad at anything, but doesn’t blow you away, either." This pretty much seems to be the consensus about him as a player on our team. (Rex always says his players are Great).

 

However I had never heard anybody speak about the second player. Cody Brown came out in the same draft class and was drafted by the Cardinals in the second round. The same service that evaluated Westerman said this about Brown: "Appears to have the lateral movement skills to be looked at as an OLB. Relentless. Looks a bit like Lawrence Taylor in brief flashes of time." I found out Brown was hurt in his second pre-season game, (breaking his wrist) for the Cards in ‘09 and sat out the whole year on IR. He was cut before the 2010 season by the Cards so he never played a regular season game for them. We picked him up 4 days later, and I have never heard anything about him again. I asked for information on him, but none was produced, so I did my own research to find out about this mystery OLB.

 

Cody Brown

Height: 6'3", Weight: 244

College: Connecticut, Conference: Big East

'09 Combine 40 time - 4.84, 10 yard split - 1.62, 20 yard split - 2.79, Vert Jump - 36.5, 

Broad Jump - 10'0", 3 Cone - 7.10, 20 Suttle - 4.40  

 

Overview:

The three-year starter at right defensive end at Connecticut, Brown's blitzing skills and range dropping back in pass coverage could see him shift to outside linebacker in the National Football League. 

 

Picked in second round, 63rd overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the '09 NFL Draft. Brown suffered a broken wrist during the second game of 2009 preseason and was placed on season-ending injured reserve on August 24. After sitting out the whole '09 season, Brown was waived by the Cardinals on September 3, 2010. On September 7, 2010, the Jets signed Brown to the practice squad. Brown was signed to a future contract on January 25, 2011. 

 

Background:

Brown enrolled at Connecticut as a 215-pound defensive end in 2005. He appeared in the team's first 10 games, playing behind senior Shawn Mayne on the left side, where he earned one starting assignment vs. Cincinnati. He finished his first season with 20 tackles (10 solos) that included one sack and five stops for loss.

 

Brown emerged from 2006 fall camp as the Huskies' starting right defensive end, but in the sixth game he broke a bone in his arm vs. Army, missing the second half of the season. The 233-pound defender managed to register 24 tackles (8 solos), as he led the team with 4.5 sacks and also made 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

 

During his rehabilitation from his arm injury, Brown added 15 pounds of muscle to his frame, returning to start all 13 games at right end in 2007. He led the team with 16.5 stops for loss, the sixth-best season total in school history. He also paced the Huskies with 7.5 sacks and collected 50 tackles (35 solos) with three pass deflections.

 

Brown continued his progression to the elite ranks in college football as a senior. The unanimous All-Big East Conference first-team pick was named the team's Defensive Most Valuable Player. He led the team with a career-high 11 sacks and matched his 2007 figures with 16.5 tackles for loss, both good for second place on the conference chart. He also delivered 56 tackles (33 solos) and tied for eighth in the NCAA with a school single-season record-tying five forced fumbles. His eight pass deflection were the second-highest total of any defensive end in the major college circuit.

 

Analysis:

Positives: Brown is a playmaker off the edge. He has a knack for applying pressure off the edge and getting into the backfield. He is a very good athlete that has the speed to get upfield quickly and turn the corner to get to the quarterback. Uses his hands to rip off blocks from much bigger tackles. Able to get into the chest of his man to bull rush him into the quarterback. Will close on quarterbacks quickly and secure the tackle. Plays on the strong and weak sides, as well as a stand-up rusher at times. Shows potential to be an effective 3-4 rush linebacker. Should be an asset on special teams coverage units. Recognizes misdirection quickly. Helped himself with a strong performance throughout Senior Bowl week.  He also shows the agility and ability to change directions on the field, which give him a lot of potential to move back to a 3-4 OLB. His game appears to be tailor made for that scheme and he could be a terror as a pass rusher in the NFL.

 

Negatives: Lacks great bulk to hold up as an every-down end, and will likely switch to 3-4 rush linebacker in the pros. Even in that scheme, he is going to have to get stronger and learn how to get off blocks quicker. Can get moved out of the hole. A bit high and choppy in his backpedal, but he can get deep on zone blitzes. Needs to hustle and chase a bit more when plays are downfield or down the line. Quarterbacks and ballcarriers can sidestep him as he closes because he doesn't break down quickly enough to make the tackle.  He is an attacking defender that can over run plays at times, and he may need to be a little more disciplined.

 

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT: GRADE: 6.54

 

Body Structure: Brown is undersized for a down lineman, but has very good strength, along with a frame that can carry more bulk. He has an athletic physique with good upper body muscle definition, firm midsection and tight waist and hips. He has the long wingspan and reach to keep blockers at bay and the large, strong hands to generate a solid punch. He has adequate lower body development, along with minimal body fat (8.6 percent).

 

Athletic Ability: Brown is an undersized defensive end with surprising power taking on bigger blockers. He is a better fit for linebacker, due to size issues, but it is also a perfect position for the way he plays, as he operates better on the move. He is comfortable making plays in pursuit vs. the run (held the opposition to 76 yards on 36 rushing attempts directed at him), and coming off the edge he generates good heat to pressure the pocket. He has good quickness and keeps his feet on the move, showing the agility and balance in his running stride. He has adequate change of direction agility and flexibility, along with good acceleration to close. He has loose hips and runs faster than his timed speed. He has good upper body strength and leg drive. He looks a little stiff in space, but has a good closing burst. GRADE: 7.0

 

Football Sense: Brown is a low-rep type that takes plays from the board to the field well. He makes line adjustments and is quick to recognize blocking schemes. He shows good urgency closing on the ball and while he has some hip stiffness, he still manages to move laterally to the flow of the ball. He picks things up quickly from the chalkboard to the playing field and even though he has not played the position, he seems to be instinctive enough to handle the mental aspect of playing linebacker. GRADE: 6.4

 

Character: Brown is a quiet, respectful sort from a supportive family. He is a good program player who takes pride in his leadership role. He has no known off-field issues. GRADE: 6.3

 

Competitiveness: Brown is described by the coaching staff a tough player who has faced a lot of mismatches (blockers generally weighed 50-plus pounds more than him), but plays far above his size. He has a good motor in pursuit and loves to compete. He shows that fire in the belly attitude on the field, plays until the whistle and there are no problems trying to motivate him. He will play with pain and while he had some early career durability issues, he has been relatively healthy since recovering from his 2006 broken arm. GRADE: 6.6

 

Work Habits: Brown emerged as a team leader last season. He worked very hard to come back from his arm injury and really took to the weight room, evident by the power he's shown taking on bigger blockers. He is a mature leader, self-starter, compliant and will do the little extras to prepare. He is well respected by the staff and they can't say enough good things about him. He does everything that is asked and more and is the type of guy that will have a smile on his face until he steps on the field. GRADE: 6.4

 

ATHLETIC REPORT: GRADE: 6.27

 

Key and Diagnostic Skills: Brown is an instinctive player with a great feel for slipping through tight areas to generate the pass rush. He is a good read-&-react type with the instincts and vision to find the ball. He is alert to misdirection and won't be suckered in by play-action fakes. He shows a quick break and urgency to negate the cutback lanes when pinching the outside running game back in. He is alert to blocking schemes and moves suddenly to avoid. He might overrun a few plays, but is quick to recover. He can diagnose the run or pass and has no problems reading and reacting to plays on the edge. GRADE: 7.4

 

Playing Strength and Explosion: Brown has a strong hand punch, but despite solid weight room numbers he does get engulfed working in-line and needs to be in motion to be effective, as he is not going to win physical battles vs. the offensive linemen. He just struggles and gets bounced around too much at the Xs. He lacks the bulk and lower body strength to split double teams and hold ground at the point of attack, but plays much better on the move, where he can use his hand punch to reroute the tight ends. Playing off the line, he shows good stack and shed ability. He is strong with his hands, especially when working on the edge, using a powerful club move and arm-over action to get past blocks. He can be even better when he uses his natural leverage. When he plays high, he will get tied up trying to disengage, failing to stay on his feet working near the pile. His size issue as a down lineman comes into play when he fails to protect his body working in trash, as he can be washed out of the play by double teams when he leaves his body too exposed. GRADE: 5.6

 

Lateral Pursuit/Range: Brown has some hip stiffness, but still manages to flow with the ball. His stiffness only becomes evident when he has to turn out of his breaks on short-area pass coverage or when having to redirect suddenly. He has good playing speed to make plays in pursuit. He might overrun a play or two due to some stiffness in his change of direction, but is quick to recover. He shows good urgency getting to the ball and uses his active hands to prevent getting tied up working through trash. The thing you notice on film is that he shows good speed with proper pursuit angles while chasing. GRADE: 6.3

 

Use of Hands: Brown's broken arm in 2006 was actually a blessing in disguise. In rehab, he developed the strength needed to shock and jolt even the biggest offensive linemen. He has good power behind his punch with his initial strike. He has a good array of pass rush moves (rip, swim, club) and uses his hands to play off blocks and stack. He still could use a little refinement shooting his hands, but he shows strength behind his strikes. He has the wingspan and extension to redirect tight ends off their routes. He is not a natural hands catcher for the interception, but has the leaping ability and times his jumps to do a great job of batting the ball down at the line of scrimmage. GRADE: 6.9

 

Tackling Ability: Brown sometimes gets caught up in the battle in the trenches and fails to locate the ball carrier on time. He will shut down some when his moves fail to get him a release from the block. He has enough quickness to deliver explosive hits on the quarterback, but is susceptible to side blocks, where he is often ridden wide. He can be fooled by double teams and try to shoot the inside gap, only to get stonewalled. When he stays low in his pads and drives forward with his legs, he can push the fullback back through the rush lanes. He hits with a thud and can jar the ball loose on contact. He is more of a drag-down tackler than a wrap-up one, which could see the slippery backs escape. However, he has the upper body strength to bring the runner down once he latches on. This area of his game is going to be a work in progress. GRADE: 5.6

 

Run Defense: Brown shows no hesitation working in-line in attempts to clog the rush lanes, but is susceptible to low blocks, despite having the long wingspan to protect his legs. As a rush end, he was more productive vs. the inside ruin when he avoided blocks rather than trying to take on the bigger blockers. He can make plays on the move and shows the burst to close and make plays taking on the fullback. He is quick to read the inside run and step up to take on the offensive lineman or lead back, but lacks the bulk to consistently stack. He has shown improvement staying lower in his pads, as when he got too high in his stance in the past he did not square up when taking on blocks. He shows good pursuit quickness to the outside and is able to run and work through and around trash. He has the chase speed and takes proper angles to cut off the runner on the outside. He has the balance to keep containment and string plays out, but there are times it looks like he is operating in cruise control. He also needs to be more alert to side blocks, as he can get latched on to and washed out of the play, especially when his hands get outside his frame. GRADE: 7.2

 

Pass Defense: When Brown keeps his hands active, he has the quickness and punch to surprise the offensive lineman. He has adequate change of direction quickness vs. double moves and you can see the hip stiffness when he tries to move in reverse. He needs to do a better job of turning and opening his hips when changing direction. He can cover most tight ends and backs in the short area, but when he plays high, his slight change of direction stiffness shows. He is adequate in man coverage, but tends to get up on his heels in his backpedal. In the short area, he can stay on the hip of the receiver, but needs to show a better burst to recover from gathering coming out of transition (more of a trailer type outside the box). He does keep his head on a swivel while sinking, but only gets adequate depth in his pass drops due to being on his heels and standing too high in his backpedal. GRADE: 5.7

 

Zone Defense: While Brown has the ability to drop in the zone and get in position, you just don't see him make many plays on the ball there. When he stays low in his pads during his pass drops, he can be an effective zone player. He is best when his drops are inside and in the short area. He has the speed to cover ground when the pass is thrown and shows decent range, but needs to be quicker in his reads and not so tight in his turn. GRADE: 5.4

 

Pass Rush and Blitz: Brown needs to be on the move to be effective, as he gets engulfed at the point of attack and appears frustrated when his moves fail working in a phone booth. He has a good feel for rushing off the edge and has the upfield burst, doing a good job of dipping his shoulder to bend the corner. He needs to avoid offensive linemen to be effective, as he will not be able to escape if the bigger blocker gets on him. He is better blitzing off the edge, but can be very effective running stunts because of his quickness, if he can find the clear lane. He has the speed to rush off the edge and has a few moves along the way to avoid blocks (arm-under and over-action). He is just not a solid bull rusher, even when he stays low in his pads. GRADE: 6.3

 

Compares To: KAMERION WIMBLEY, Cleveland -- Brown is an undersized defensive end who will need some time to adjust to playing linebacker. He might bring quicker value as a situational rush end, as he is not really fluid in his pass drops and might struggle in pass coverage. He is more of a drag-down tackler than a wrap-up type working in space, causing some of the slippery runners to escape. However, he is a solid hitter vs. plays in front of him and shows enough spin in his lateral movements to make plays outside the box. He has good acceleration working down the line and does a good job of colliding with the ball carrier on contact. When he gets too high in his stance, he tends to pick a side rather than squaring up, making him an easy target to block.

 

OVERALL GRADE: 6.31

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