Zach Brown is one of the more polarizing prospects in this year's draft. Brown doubles as an indoor track star and holds the UNC school record for the 60-yard dash. He dominated the drills at the combine and has as much upside as any linebacker in the draft.
However, even with his enticing measurables, he does not play well on a consistent basis on tape. In other words, Brown is the definition of a "workout warrior."
Here is an excerpt from the NFL.com scouting report:
Brown might be one of the fastest straight-line linebackers to ever enter the NFL draft, making him one the most intriguing prospects of this class. He has shown sprinter-like speed on the field and should rack up tackles in the NFL. There are many questions about Brown’s game, including whether he can adapt to the NFL after being able to make plays with minimal effort in college. Ultimately, though, he has yet to scratch the surface of his true potential.
Brown projects to play as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 scheme, but in reality, he can play just about anywhere in any scheme. With this athletic ability, you can move him inside in either a 3-4 or 4-3, or you could even test his ability to hold down an outside linebacker position in a 3-4.
Brown certainly has a ways to go in terms of cleaning up his game and using his speed and explosion properly, but with some proper coaching and time, he can turn out to be a great player. But with his inconsistent production on tape, I would be wary of using first-round pick on him.
As Mike Mayock said on NFL Network's coverage, Brown is one of the most athletic players in the draft. Mayock also said he's "somewhat allergic to contact". Linebackers who don't love to hit people usually have short NFL careers. That said, he's got all the tools if he can figure that part of his game out.
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