Due to the season ending knee injury to Kiko Alonso, the dynasty IDP world got sent into a tailspin. One of the names that quickly emerged to replace him was third round pick, Preston Brown. The rookie backer ran a 4.8 40 at the Combine so the speed of the defense will suffer, but Brown brings other attributes to the gridiron. I reviewed four of his games to get a better understanding of his skill set. There wasn’t a lot of film available to me so I watched of his two 2013 games against Florida International and University of South Florida as well as two 2012 games against Cincinnati and Florida.
My biggest criticism of Brown is that he lets blockers into his body, a lot. Then the linebacker tries to shove them out-of-the-way with his long arms. He needs to step towards the blocker and shed them quickly with a powerful punch. There were a few times he spun away from contact, which can be effective rushing the passer, but not against the run. Brown quickly identifies where the ball is going, closes to the ball carrier, but gets eaten up too much. There are also times that the young linebacker doesn’t take the best angles and thinks his athleticism will get him free. It worked two-thirds of the time in college that way, but this is the NFL. I doubt that will work a third of time as a professional.
Maybe it’s me, but Brown looks more like a misplaced outside linebacker, than an inside one. He is an aggressive pass rusher, who sometimes crept up to the defensive line to blitz the quarterback. The backer came from the middle and would occasionally rush from the outside while having a knack for getting small and squirting through the line to get to the passer. Brown has good vision, locates the ball quickly in the pass coverage by reading the quarterback’s eyes, and times his jumps well disrupting the ball in the air. He keeps up with backs and tight ends in coverage for the first 15 yards or so with a quick drop back, but might be faster side to side than straight ahead.
Brown is very instinctive player who uses good technique and is a solid wrap up tackler. He seems to enjoy punishing whomever has the pigskin. The linebacker has a good chop that he uses to strip the ball away and has soft hands in pass coverage. The second day pick has a good motor as he plays to the whistle every single play. Right now the Bills aren’t sure who is going to be the Alonso replacement, but if I had to guess, I would buy a few stocks of Preston Brown. With the opportunity, he could be a solid LB3 in tackle heavy formats if he gets and keeps the job.
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