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 Leave a comment

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 Leave a comment