For second-round pick Arthur Brown, tape has significantly both helped, and hurt, his career.
During his collegiate days at Kansas State, Brown’s game tape showed a linebacker with a tremendous amount of upside, projecting well for a transition to the NFL. However, the tape measure has hurt Brown, as the majority of his criticisms lie within the fact that he can be labeled as “small” by traditional linebacking standards. At first glance, Brown’s 6-0, 241-pound frame is likely the reason he slid down the board in the second round before eventually being selected by the Ravens with the 56th overall pick. Baltimore traded up six spots to leapfrog both the Texans and Broncos, who reportedly had their sights set on Brown.
For the same reasons legendary linebacker Ray Lewis dropped below his listed playing weight of 240 last year, the Ravens don’t believe Brown is undersized. If the league was still full of fullbacks like Vonta Leach, drafting Brown may have been an issue…but that’s not the case. As quarterbacks continue to become more mobile and running backs catch the ball out of the backfield as much as they run with it, speed will begin to trump muscle with the NFL’s latest crop of linebackers.
On Friday, Brown was introduced to the media in person for the first time. Standing five feet away from Brown, I was just as interested in what he would look like in person as I was with what he was saying during the press conference.
The best way to sum up Brown is that if he was standing in a crowd, he isn’t someone you could instantly peg as a professional football player solely based on his height and weight. However, realizing that the Ravens will likely attempt to add more lean muscle onto Brown’s frame, mixing that with the highlight film of him tackling Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (playing at Baylor at the time) makes him a scary prospect.
At the combine, Brown ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, which is more important than his height. Brown’s time was good enough for fourth (tied) out of 15 inside linebackers.
Given the decision of Lewis and many other veteran linebackers throughout the league to drop weight to be faster, I’m convinced that Brown’s size won’t be an issue. He still isn’t a guy you’d want to find yourself on his bad side and if you try to run though, and chances are he’ll catch you.
Just watch what he did to RGIII in the final part of this video. (Start at 3:45)