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2012 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles: Zach Brown, OLB, North Carolina

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Let's switch gears to the defensive side of the ball today aas we continue our 2012 NFL Draft Prospect Profiles series and talk about our first linebacker. Draft Tek's latest DRAFTSIM has North Carolina outside linebacker Zach Brown going to the Giants with the 32nd pick of the first round, so let's talk about Brown.

It seems Giants fans have been clamoring for a linebacker to be taken in the first round for years. Is Brown the right guy? Let's look a little closer.

Brown is a 6-foot-2, 230-pound weakside linebacker, or WILL in current parlance. The National Football Post ranks Brown 38th on its prospect list -- fifth among outside linebackers in this year's draft class. NFL Network's Mike Mayock does not currently list Brown among his top five outside linebackers.

NFP's Wes Bunting has this to say about Brown:

"A run and hit guy with impressive athleticism and range. Possesses solid instincts and is a better read-and-react linebacker than given credit for, but still not elite in that area. Nevertheless, looks like a starting caliber 43 weak side guy who would be ideal in a cover two scheme."

In a brief scan of some YouTube clips of Brown he looks like a quality cover guy with some speed and sideline-to-sideline type range.

Draft Tek's Giants analyst Bill Bliss had this to say in his reaction to the DRAFTSIM's selection of Brown for the Giants:

"He's noted for rare athleticism - fluid movement, quick burst, and excellent change of direction skills. That just might be the skill set needed to compete with the new breed of NFL tight ends. Brown would likely come in as a WILL backer, backing up Michael Boley, who has 2 years left on his deal. Given that, is he worth a first round pick? DT Fletcher Cox, T Bobby Massie, and CB Stephon Gilmore are still on the board. Cox is a better value, and T and CB may be bigger positions of need than WILL LB. Drafting Brown wouldn't be a bad thing, but NYG may be better served with Cox or Gilmore at this spot."

I am not sure I agree with Bliss about cornerback, and I have yet to study the other players he mentioned. I do, however, think he has a valid point regarding the WILL linebacker spot. Remember, the Giants also have Jacquian Williams. So, unless the feeling is that you need to stockpile this type of linebacker in today's NFL, might the drafting of a guy like Brown this early be considered overkill?

Of course, if they think he is the best player available, a little thing like having other players at a given position never stopped Jerry Reese and the Giants from taking a guy before.

Zach Brown Profile

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 230 pounds
2011 Stats: 105 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions, three forced fumbles, seven passes defended