Zach Brown

Draft Grades: Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans are stuck in limbo. They’re not in full rebuilding mode, but they aren’t legitimate contenders. As a result, they had a tough decision to make in this draft: address immediate holes, or draft for the future. Based on their early selections it seems as though they chose the latter, which was probably the right decision.

The Titans shocked a lot of people with the selection of Kendall Wright. Receiver was not viewed as an immediate need, but the Titans apparently viewed him as one of the best values on the board. Wright is a perfect compliment to Kenny Britt, and the Titans now have two legitimate weapons in place which will ease Jake Locker’s transition whenever he takes over for Matt Hasselbeck.

Zach Brown is an elite athlete who fell down draft boards due to a lack of production in 2011 at North Carolina. He’s undersized and not very physical, but the Titans defense is one of the few units that tends to favor athleticism over size and Brown should fit right in.

Mike Martin could be a steal in the 3rd round. He’s limited athletically, but is a tough, physical player who can anchor a defensive line. He’ll have to fight for playing time on the Titans crowded defensive line, but he’ll force the coaching staff to find a role for him as part of the rotation.

If the Titans were drafting purely for need, cornerback is an area that should have been addressed earlier. Coty Sensabaugh adds depth, but he doesn’t even begin to replace Courtland Finnegan.

I love the selection of Taylor Thompson in the 5th round. He played defensive end at SMU, so we have no idea what lies ahead for him as a tight end, but he has all the physical attributes necessary to play the position at an elite level. He’s obviously a project, but his upside makes him well worth a 5th round selection.

Markelle Martin should provide some much needed depth in the secondary. He’ll likely backup Michael Griffin at free safety and play on special teams.

Scott Solomon will compete for a backup job at defensive end. While the starters are locked in, there’s very little depth at the position which should allow him to earn a spot on the roster.

This was a solid draft haul for the Titans, but don’t expect it to allow much improvement on their 9-7 record in 2011. This class was about putting the pieces in place to ensure a smooth transition from Hasselbeck to Locker. With the added weapons and offense and the depth added on the defensive side of the ball, the Titans should be able to avoid the typical dip in production when ushering in a new franchise quarterback.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2012, Titans Comments Off

Tennessee Titans select Zach Brown, Grade B

The Tennessee Titans clearly fell in love with Zach Brown’s athleticism. There’s no denying the fact that he can fly around the field, but he isn’t an true impact player in any aspect of the game at this stage in his career. I did give him a late 2nd-round grade based on his athleticism and potential, however, so I will still give the pick a solid B.

What I don’t like about this pick, however, is the fact that Lavonte David was still on the board. David doesn’t quite have Brown’s upside, but is far and away the better football player at this point in time.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft, Titans 1 Comment

All-Overrated “Team”

Here is my pre-Senior Bowl all-overrated “team.” It’s not exactly a full team because certain positions don’t have a truly overrated prospect… yet. Depending on the media’s reaction to the Senior Bowl and/or Combine, players could drop off the list, or earn their way onto the roster in the coming months.

QB Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M
Every year a quarterback or two see their stock inflated due to team needs. Tannehill is this year’s victim.
RB LaMichael James Oregon
James is an impressive athlete with speed to burn, but he isn’t an every-down back.
RB Chris Rainey Florida
Much like James, Rainey is heralded for his speed, but he will be limited to special teams duty in the NFL.
WR Alshon Jeffery South Carolina
There’s no denying Jeffery’s raw ability, but his inconsistency raises a big red flag.
WR Nick Toon Wisconsin
Toon was a productive college receiver who benefitted from Russell Wilson’s prescence in 2011. He’s a 3rd or 4th option in the NFL at best.
TE Coby Fleener Stanford
Fleener is my top rated tight end, but that’s exactly why he’s being overrated. He’s just the best of a mediocre class.
OT Jonathan Martin Stanford
Martin will be a fine pro, but not at left tackle. Anyone who falls for the hype will be moving him to the right side, or to guard, within three years.
OT Mike Adams Ohio State
Adams certainly looks the part, but he’s terribly soft and not especially quickon his feet.
DE Quinton Coples North Carolina
You can put together a highlight real that makes Coples look like a top-five pick… but you can’t find a single game where he shows it from start to finish.
DE Jack Crawford Penn State
Crawford never lived up to expectations at Penn State despite his impressive athleticism.
DT Alameda Ta’amu Washington
Ta’amu has the size to play nose tackle, which boosts his stock significantly, but he may not have the stamina to be a three-down lineman.
LB Zach Brown North Carolina
Brown is an athlete, but he’s undersized and will get pushed around by NFL linemen.
LB Bruce Irvin West Virginia
Irvin flashes elite athleticism at times, but he had to fight for playing time throughout his career due to inconsistent performances.
LB Vontaze Burfict Arizona State
Top-10 talent, undraftable character. Not worth the trouble.
CB Janoris Jenkins North Alabama
See above.
CB Alfonzo Dennard Nebraska
I have a hard time understanding where the 1st-round love for Dennard comes from. He’s a physical corner and his injury prone – a bad combo.
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2012 NFL Draft Comments Off

Zach Brown scouting report

Zach Brown LB North Carolina
Ht: 6’2″
Wt: 235
 
Strengths:
Elite athleticism. Rare speed for the linebacker position; also runs on track team. Very fluid dropping back in coverage. Plenty of experience in zone coverage; often plays four to five yards off the line of scrimmage and drops into coverage, essentially acting as an extra safety. Does a nice job keeping his eyes in the backfield and reading the quarterback. Experience lining up at inside and outside linebacker. Fairly reliable tackler. Has the speed to cause problems as a pass rusher off the edge.
Weaknesses:
Undersized; lacks ideal height and bulk. Struggles to shed blocks once he’s engaged with an offensive lineman; lacks the strength to battle at the line of scrimmage. Lacks the instincts of your typical NFL inside linebacker; easily frozen on play fakes and misdirection plays. Stats are misleading; always around the football due to his speed, but not always the first one there due to his poor instincts.
Comments:
Brown has the raw athleticism to be a starter at the next level but is far from a polished product. His speed makes him stand out, and Carolina defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Art Kaufman does an excellent job putting him position to make plays, but Brown does very little to create big plays on his own. His 2011 film vs Clemson provides a great example of his misleading statistics – Brown records two sacks in the game but is completely untouched by the Clemson offensive line on both plays. In each case it was a result of a missed assignment by Clemson, due more to inept offensive line play and great play calling by the Carolina defensive coaches than due to Brown’s ability. Teams should be cautious of falling in love with Brown’s 1st-round potential, when his performance is more of a 3rd or 4th round caliber player.
Videos:
2011 vs Clemson 
2010 vs Tennessee (bowl game)
Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Scouting Reports - 2012 Comments Off