Orlando Brown Jr. knows he literally has some big shoes to fill for the Baltimore Ravens.
He is embracing those high expectations.
His late father, Orlando “Zeus” Brown played offensive tackle for the Ravens from 1996-1999 and then again from 2003-2005. The elder Brown had a mean streak that gave the offensive line an edge and sometimes intimidated less physical opponents.
The younger Brown is hoping to carry that same swagger. He is wearing the same number as his father — 78 — and admitted missing him on the sidelines.
“My biggest wish right now is I wish he could see it,” he said about his father. “At the end of the day, that’s my motivation for getting to this point and continuing to make sure I carry on his legacy.”
Orlando Brown Sr. died in September 2011 at age 40 because of complications from diabetes.
The team selected Brown Jr. from Oklahoma with the 83th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Brown Jr. is expected to battle James Hurst for the starting spot at right tackle. The release of Austin Howard opened the competition for that spot. While Hurst has more experience, Brown Jr.’s impressive size (6-8, 345 pounds) and technique will keep him in the mix.
“Everybody knows I’m slow,” Brown said. “I’m not the fastest guy – half of you could probably beat me running, honestly.(laughter) That’s something that I continue to work on and I’m going to have to continue to work on during my career. My weight room numbers aren’t the best, but [my] football I.Q. … I’ve been around the game.
“My dad forced me to learn it, like I said more so from a Jonathan Ogden standpoint than [from] him. Mentally, I don’t think there’s anyone out there that understands the game or is more instinctual than me. That was my credit to being able to play at such a high level in college, and I look forward to transitioning out to this [level].”
Brown Jr. didn’t back down from his disappointing performance at the NFL Combine, which allowed him to fall to the Ravens in the third round. Some of the more discouraging numbers included a 5.85 run time in the 40-yard dash and a 19.5-inch vertical jump.
“It was surprising for me,” Brown Jr. said about the numbers. “Those numbers were numbers that I put up when I had first got there. Before we left, I was running a consistent 5.69; I was benching 18 to 20 [reps], and all my vertical stuff was 25-26 [inches]. My performance at the Combine wasn’t even what I expected to do at all – [not] even close.”
Brown Jr. is prepared to move past the performance. One of his goals is to get down to 325 pounds to help with his speed. Brown Jr. said his biggest strength is his football I.Q.
“I want to be one of the greatest, and those linemen right there are right at the top,” Brown Jr. said. “I can’t watch Dan Dierdorf’s film, but yes, I studied a lot of tape from them, a lot of tape from ‘J.O.’ The biggest thing that I learned is how to use your length, using your base and your size, creating as big of a hoop as you can. ‘J.O.’ was a tall guy like me that played with a very wide base and used great hands.”