Thanks to all the great feedback I got for my film study of Devin Taylor I was encouraged to do another. For this one I chose a prospect that many are linking to the Giants in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL draft, Arthur Brown.
So, lets get started shall we?
Arm Length: 32.5"
Bench: 21 reps
40 Time: 4.58sec
Short Shuttle: 4.31sec
3-Cone Drill: 7.01sec
Broad Jump: 9'7"
For fun and perspective, I decided to compare Brown's measurables to those of the man commonly held to be the best one of the freakiest inside linebackers in the NFL: Patrick Willis
Patrick Willis (2007)
Bench: 22 reps
40 time: 4.51sec
Short Shuttle: 4.46sec
Broad Jump: 9'11"
As you can see, that while Brown doesn't quite test out Willis explosiveness (possibly due to gaining 20lbs in a short period of time), his measurables are remarkably close. He even exceeds Willis when it comes to short-area quickness (ie: short shuttle/3-cone drill). As well, Brown's performance in the bench press answers any questions about his strength or the health of his shoulder.
Now, before I get to dissecting his gametape, I want to get into what I'm looking at. Personally, technical challenges of studying DB's aside (YouTube is limited to TV tape, and that rarely shows the secondary), I find Line Backer to be the most difficult to scout. They have so many duties, be it directing the defense, stopping the run, defending the pass, rushing the passer... There is something different to look for with each.
Pre-Snap: First and foremost I try to identify what the defense is doing. Are they using a 3 or 4 man front (or conversely: 4 or 3 LB's)? Where is the linebacker in question playing? Are they playing man or zone coverage, or is the linebacker planning to blitz? Is he making calls and orchestrating the defense?
Post-Snap: Now for the "Fun" part. After the snap I first look to see how quickly the LB diagnoses the play to get a feel for his instincts, then look to see whether he moves in the correct direction. If he's in pass coverage I want to see how he moves (fluid or stiff). If its a running play, how does he deal with blockers, and fills gaps. If he's blitzing I want to see how how well he times the blitz, does he have any moves, and the angles he takes. Finally, I want to see whether or not he finishes the play: Does he give up if the play goes away from him or does his motor run wide open and he's always trying to help. Most importantly: Does he tackle?
So then, on to the tape. For this one I've chosen his 2012 game vs Texas.
Arthur Brown vs Texas 2012 (via JmpasqDraftjedi)
0:00-0:08) Running Play. Brown is at MLB and comes downhill and fills the right A-gap, talking on a block from the RG. The runner is forced to pick a different hole and is tackled at the LOS
0:13-0:20) Toss play. Brown recognizes the play shoots the gap and runs the ball carrier down behind the LOS. Really nice play
0:21-0:30) Pass play. Brown drops into a shallow zone, but the ball is tipped at the LOS. Not much there.
0:31-0:38) Pass play. Brown fakes the blitz then reads the QB's eyes and immediately flows to tackle the receiver on the sideline just past the LOS. Another great play
0:39-0:45) Running play. Brown recognizes the handoff and shoots the gap making the tackle at the LOS. Shows great quickness and instincts. I would have liked to see a better tackle though.
0:46-0:57) Pass play. Brown drops into zone coverage. QB dumps it down over the middle and Brown comes in to support/prevent YAC, but the receiver is already down.
0:58-1:05) Run play. Brown sees the handoff and scrapes along the LOS (just ahead of the lineman assigned to block him), but the runner is tackled from behind before Brown can do much of anything. Nice play by the DT.
1:06-1:15) Run play. Nickel formation and Brown drops in coverage. Nice coverage but its a run play... Moving on
1:16-1:24) Pass play. Brown is in man coverage the receiver running the crossing route. QB goes elsewhere, but nice coverage by Brown.
1:25-1:31) Pass play. Brown bites on the play-action for a second, then drops into coverage, however he doesn't react fast enough to get into coverage on the receiver who makes the catch. First bad play.
1:32-1:43) Pass play. Brown runs a slightly delayed blitz to the outside. However the pass gets off before any of the pass rushers can get home.
1:44-1:53) Pass play. Another outside blitz by Brown. He does a great job of bending under the tackle and using his speed to beat the block. The QB just gets the pass off before Brown gets there.
1:54-2:05) Wildcat play. Brown recognizes the trick play and mirrors the WR on the end around all the way over to the opposite the sideline where he's tackled for minimum gain. Excellent display of instincts and athleticism by Brown.
2:06-2:15) Pass play. Well, attempted anyway. Brown drops in coverage on the back but the QB is sacked before anything can happen. Moving on
2:16-2:26) Pass play. Brown recognizes the play-action this time and drops back smoothly into coverage. The QB doesn't have anywhere to go and gets sacked.
2:27-2:34) Pass play. Brown sits down in a shallow zone, moves to cover a receiver on a crossing route then sees the QB look towards a deeper route. Brown goes to help but doesn't get there before the receiver is tackled. Texas picks up the 1st down but the WR wasn't Brown's responsibility.
2:35-2:41) Running play. Brown recognizes the handoff and comes down to fill the A-gap, but gets caught in the trash while the running back takes off through the B-gap. OL won on that one.
2:42-2:53) Running play. Brown flows towards the running back well, but over-pursues and gets beat by the quick cutback. Bad play
2:54-3:07) Pass play. Brown drops smoothly into zone coverage but the QB goes to another receiver for the TD. Moving on.
3:08-3:13) Running play. Brown immediately diagnoses the play and beats the blockers into the backfield. He hits the RB, but doesn't tackle him. Great play, but that tackle was lousy.
3:14-3:21) Pass play. Initially bites on the play-action, but quickly recognizes the fake and drops into coverage. QB goes somewhere else for the 1st, but Brown looks good getting into coverage quickly.
3:22-3:27) Running play. Immediately recognizes the running play and shoots the gap to make the tackle at the LOS. He's through before the blocker assigned to block him can react. Very nice play by Brown.
3:28-3:38) Pass play. Brown drops in zone coverage, and the QB is just left with the underneath dump-off. Brown comes down to keep the RB from getting the 1st down. Very nice hit. He just does not go backward.
3:39-3:49) Running play. Recognizes the run and easily slips the blocker. The OLB gets there first, but Brown throws himself in to prevent the 1st down.
3:50-3:59) QB sneak. Not much to see here, but Brown goes over the pile and the QB goes backwards.
4:00-4:14) Running play. Center makes it up to the 2nd level but Brown sheds the block very nicely to make the tackle. Doesn't prevent the 1st down, but still a nice play.
4:15-4:26) Pass play. Drops smoothly in a deep zone coverage. The QB goes elsewhere for the incompletion.
4:27-4:37) Pass play. Drops in coverage but the screen pass goes to the other side. Brown immediately comes from across the field to help out, actually outrunning the play.
4:40-4:51) Running play (end around). Recognizes the end around, but overpursues slightly and gets beat by the cutback.
4:52-4:59) Running play. Brown recognizes the handoff and navigates the trash along the LOS, beats his blocker and makes the stop. Nice tackle and great play.
5:00-5:07) Running play. Straight forward goal-line football. Brown takes on his blocker and can't get off it to make the tackle. RB didn't make it into the endzone though.
5:08-5:13) Same as last play, but gets blown up by his blocker and the RB gets the TD. Bad play
5:14-5:20) Running play. Sees the run and starts flowing to the sideline. Slips his blocker well but the tackle is made before Brown can get there.
5:21-5:28) Pass play. Brown drops in coverage but the QB is sacked fast. Moving on.
5:29-5:41) Run play. Brown first drops in coverage but then comes down to make the stop well short of the 1st down marker. Not blocked but has to slip around the official to make the tackle.
5:42-5:53) Run play. Brown is unblocked through the LOS, but the runner is already gone through another hole. But Brown does a great job of redirecting getting back through the trash and making the tackle from behind.
5:54-6:03) Pass play. Brown drops into coverage. The receiver runs through his zone and he passes him off to the DB. Incomplete.
6:04-6:15) Pass play. Brown drops into coverage again, but the QB looks elsewhere. Brown does come up to help make the tackle.
6:19-6:26) Run play. Brown recognizes the fake and flows to where the RB is going to be. He meets him but gets pushed back a couple yards. Nice movement and instincts, could have made a better tackle though.
6:27-6:36) Pass play. Brown starts to bite on the play action, but quickly recognizes the screen and flies across the field to make the tackle. Texas gets the 1st down, but a nice play by Brown. It could have gone for a lot more.
6:38-6:44) Pass play. Brown lines up outside the tackle to blitz but is blocked well and can't get close to the QB.
6:45-6:50) "Pass" play. Brown is in man coverage looks to get a good start, but the play goes to the other side of the field and was incomplete anyway. Moving on.
6:51-6:58) Pass play. Brown drops in coverage well, but the DB he passes the receiver off to gives up the completion.
7:00-7:08) Pass play. Quick pass. Brown is in zone coverage and quickly comes down to make the tackle, but mostly whiffs. Nice instincts and recognition, bad tackling.
7:09-7:10) Pass play. Can't tell what happened here, but Brown gets himself a pass defensed.
7:14-7:25) Pass play. Brown drops in coverage over the middle but the QB goes to the sideline. Brown comes down to make the tackle but doesn't get there in time. TD.
Arthur Brown has really grown on me. He's instinctive, athletic (freakishly so if he moves this well at 240), good in run support, good in coverage and by all accounts a strong leader. I'm not crazy about his blitzing, particularly outside blitzing. I'm not sure why K-State never seemed to blitz him inside, shooting gaps is a strength of his... But all things considered, that's not really a huge concern for this team.
Brown's tackling could also use some work. Sometimes its great, but other times not so much. That's something else that might have improved (or will improve) with the additional 20lbs. I'm not really worried about the "Undersized" label, particularly since adding 20lbs. Some of the best LB's in recent memory have been "Undersized", and he's the same size as Ray Lewis, Patrick Willis, and Navarro Bowman.
Brown plays MLB in a 43 scheme pretty much exclusively, equally dropping in coverage (usually zone, but some man) and coming down in run support... Basically what we would like our MIKE (MLB) to do. I'm not going so far as to compare Brown to Patrick Willis, but I am going to say that I really like his game, and his ceiling could be somewhere around Willis. There's a host of prospects that I would be happy to see taken with the 19th pick of the 2013 NFL draft, and Arthur Brown is one of them. He would go a long way to solidifying the NYG's LB corp for the remainder of the decade, particularly with the read-option offenses that seem to be infesting the NFCE. Oh, and he's had experience playing against and spying Griffin and Geno Smith... He delivered each of them their first interception of their respective years (2011 and 2012).