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Scouting The 2017 NFL Draft: Algernon Brown, FB, BYU

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This is one of those players whose position is best categorized simply as "weapon." A lethal weapon.

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Personal

Hometown: Salt Lake City

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 255 lb's

Pro Day Performance

Bench: 28 Reps

Vertical: 33.0"

40 Time: 4.61

Statistics

Year

Carries

Yards

YPC

Receptions

Yards

YPR

TD

.

2013

48

234

4.9

2

8

4.0

2

2014

68

324

4.8

14

139

9.9

1

2015

127

709

5.6

13

71

5.5

13

2016

16

43

2.7

6

67

11.2

0

.

Totals

259

1310

5.1

35

285

8.1

16

Positives

  • Very quick and nimble feet for a man his size.
  • Good patience behind his blocking.
  • Surprisingly elusive for a big man.
  • Good field vision.
  • Has nice second gear.  Rarely caught from behind.
  • A willing and at times crushing blocker.
  • Natural receiver with soft hands.
  • Extraordinary power.  Drags multiple defenders yards downfield.
  • Relentless motor.  Keeps legs churning and falls forward. Has a nose for the first down markers.
  • Does best work between the tackles.

Negatives

  • Lacks elite speed.  May not have enough burst at NFL level.
  • Runs high. Would benefit by a lower pad level.
  • Willing, ferocious, but extremely raw blocker. Not ready to block at an NFL level.
  • Needs to work on ball security
  • Limited college production.  Never the undisputed lead back.  Spent senior year as blocking fullback.
  • Older than average prospect. Graduated high school 2010. Spent two years doing missionary work.
  • A little stiff in the hips.

Discussion

Algernon Brown is probably not a name many are familiar with.  Brown spent much of his time at BYU blocking for another back, Jamaal Williams.  In his four years with BYU football Brown always was subordinate to Williams, except in 2015 when Williams left the team for personal reasons. The BYU staff obviously preferred Williams.  Perhaps this is hubris, but I think they chose poorly.

It is not easy to know quite what to do with Brown at the NFL level.  Is he a lead back? Maybe. Brown runs with extraordinary power and agility for such a big man. Brown is an aggressive and relentless back, doling out more punishment than he receives. He runs right through arm tackles, scatters defensive backs like bowling pins, drags multiple defenders yards downfield, and nearly always falls forward.  He has excellent balance, good field vision, and is surprisingly nimble for a man his size.  However, Brown lacks elite speed, runs a bit too upright, and may not have the burst to play the position at an NFL level.

Is Brown a blocking fullback? Maybe, but he is extremely raw as a blocker.  Algernon Brown can at times be a crushing blocker, and he does not lack enthusiasm for the task.  However, Brown whiffs too much, exhibits poor form, often lunging off balance, lowering his head, or turning his shoulders.  He will need extensive coaching to get him up to NFL level blocking.

Is Brown an H-back or move tight end?  Brown never played that role in college, but he is an intriguing candidate to make a position switch in the NFL.  Brown lacks prototypical length for the position, but he has soft hands, outstanding speed for the position, excellent athleticism and good run after the catch ability. Brown would need extensive work with a receivers coach to get up to speed on route running, but he represents an intriguing project as an undersized h-back/ move tight end.

Is Brown a linebacker?  This is admittedly wildly speculative, but I could see converting Algernon Brown into a linebacker in the NFL. He has the right mindset for a defensive player, playing extremely aggressively and enjoying doling out punishment. Brown lacks length on the edge but has extraordinary speed, strength and footwork.  Brown's length works better on the inside, but he would have to learn a lot more as an inside linebacker than on the edge, where he could mainly just see the QB, hit the QB.  In any event converting to defense would be a huge leap at the NFL level.  It would be a major project, but Brown has such extraordinary athletic gifts it might be worth pursuing if he can't find a niche on offense.

In the final analysis Brown is an extraordinary physical specimen worth acquiring and finding a role for.  He has ridiculous speed for his size.  Every running back at the NFL Combine who ran faster than Brown was at least 35+ pounds lighter than Brown, except for Leonard Fournette.  Every running back at the NFL combine who jumped higher than Brown was at least 35+ pounds lighter, without exception.  Brown is faster than almost every edge defender, and he outperforms most tight ends in terms of speed, strength and leaping ability.  This is the kind of freak athlete you acquire for your team and figure out a role for him later.

If Brown's role is running back think of his upside as a bigger, faster, stronger, more relentless, better hands, better vision version of Shonn Greene.  If he is an h-back/ move tight end think of his upside as possibly a shorter version of Charles Clay. The most likely scenario for Brown is that he would earn a role on special teams, where he has experience from his BYU days, in his rookie year, then go through intensive coaching as the staff figures out what they want to mold this special athlete into.  It might take a couple of years for Brown to find his niche. There's a good chance he never finds a niche at all in the NFL.  But his athleticism and bruising mindset make him worth a gamble, a player with much higher than ordinary upside.

Draft Grade - 6th to UDFA

Algernon Brown will not go high in the draft. There is a good chance he does not get drafted at all.  Brown is a lottery ticket, a lump of unformed clay for a coach with vision to mold into something potentially special at the NFL level. Brown has a very good chance of never making it, but his upside is enticing.  I would guess he doesn't go before the sixth round of the draft, and the best bet is that he goes undrafted.  I would be willing to spend as high as a 6th round selection on Brown, and if he goes undrafted I would make him a priority signing.

I am not a fan of highlight videos. They show only the best while omitting the blemishes. I much prefer posting a video showing all the plays in a game or games, allowing you to assess a player warts and all. Unfortunately with Algernon Brown such video is not available on the go to source, Draft Breakdown.  So I'm going to reluctantly show a highlight reel video. Take it for what it's worth.  Understand his warts don't show here.  But enjoy some of the most brutal displays of sheer force and iron will running you can find for this year's class of backs.  This is fun to watch.