After letting the majority of the second round unfold, the Baltimore Ravens traded up from 62nd overall to the 56th pick and selected Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown on Friday night.
Brown is paired with first-round pick Matt Elam as the Ravens are rapidly undergoing a quick change across the defense.
The first-round talent slipped to the second round likely because of various injuries, mainly a shoulder problem, that held him out of many of the draft process events.
He missed the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine due to the injuries.
However, if Brown is healthy and a full-go for the beginning of the 2013 season, the group of inside linebackers that the Ravens have just got exceptionally better. He’ll likely be penciled in as a starter and Jameel McClain, Josh Bynes and Rolando McClain (if he’s still on the team) will compete for the other starting job.
Essentially, the team replaced Ray Lewis with an exact clone of a player in terms of playing style. Of course, at this point, it’s unrealistic to think that Brown will have the same type of career as Lewis. However, Brown’s instincts, range to cover the whole field, and ability to always follow the ball make him a near flawless prospect.
He’ll be a day one starter in the middle of the Baltimore defense and automatically becomes the most talented inside linebacker on the team.
Rarely any part of Brown’s playing style warrants criticism, but his size, or lack thereof, is often a concern. He’s listed by NFL.com as 6’0, 241 pounds, and he compares in terms of measurable to fellow second-round picks Manti Te’o and Kevin Minter.
Brown’s size is hardly ever a problem for him, though, as he continuously displays an ability to shed blocks and can consistently keep his eyes and anticipation on the ball carrier.
The one aspect of his game that needs to be improved is in coverage. His speed and athleticism give up ideal range to cover the middle of the field, but he often will let receivers catch easy passes in front of him.
Sometimes, his instincts fail to click when it comes to the intermediate passing game, which is a direct result of the short passes being let up. He often tackles the receiver right away, but there were many instances at Kansas State in which he could have broke on the ball to either break up the pass or record an interception.
That’s something that Brown must improve in the NFL, but right now, it appears that he will be the most talented coverage inside linebacker on the Ravens this season. For a team that struggled with coverage from linebackers in 2012, Brown’s addition is much needed.
It took some help from teams passing on Brown, but right now, it appears that the Ravens will end up with the steal of the draft. Brown’s skill set translates well to the NFL, and he is perfectly capable of becoming an All-Pro at the next level.