At this point, with less than 24 hours until the Lions officially kick off the proceedings, you’ve heard many, many, many takes on the NFL draft and the players involved.
This one’s a little different. And not just becomes it comes from a college teammate who practiced with and against—and even shared living quarters with—the players mentioned below.
The take comes from Rob Lunn, better known in the blogosphere as The Fat White Guy (TheFatWhiteGuy.com). I discovered Rob through Redskin tight end Chris Cooley’s blog and have followed the conclusion of his career as a defensive tackle at the University of Connecticut (Rob ranks somewhere in the 50-60 range at his position on most draft boards). He has received plenty of publicity for his efforts, including the opportunity to turn his media experience into a job with the New England Sports Network.
But that job will have to wait, for at the moment Lunn is extending his playing career… not while waiting for a call from an NFL team on draft weekend, but for the Carinthian Black Lions in Austria. You can follow his adventures, including his work as a two-way lineman for the Lions and Project Formerly The Fat White Guy (evidently it’s tough to get good American food in Austria) via his blog at TheFatWhiteGuy.com.
Despite being across the pond, Rob was able to talk to (and about) a couple of his UConn teammates who’ll be playing stateside football in 2009. Unfortunately, Lunn said that running back Donald Brown—who very well could find himself in the best situation for a rookie running back when the draft-day dust settles—is “stressin’ big time” right now and wasn’t available to chat. He did, however, confirm the scouting reports on Brown as being nothing less than a high-character, salt-of-the-earth individual,
And perhaps once Brown finds out where he’ll be toting the rock in 2009, Rob can get him to share some thoughts with us.
In the meantime, I encourage you to check out Rob’s blog for a little football fix and plenty of entertaining commentary. And you can check out recaps of the conversations Lunn had with former UConn teammates (and soon-to-be NFLers) Cody Brown and Steve Brouse below.
(Editor’s Note: Cody Brown is a defensive end likely to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. He is expected to go in this weekend’s draft.)
I have had the “pleasure” of knowing Cody for 4 years; he was probably my best friend at UConn. That being said, I took great pleasure in grilling him with these questions. Sure I asked him about his near anemic 40 time (4.84) at the combine the way only a good friend can: “Did they make you run 50 yards” or “Does your girlfriend know that 4.84 means no new car?” He shut me up on UConn’s pro day improving to a 4.60, But I still had questions for him:
FWG: What do you think you bring to an NFL Team?
Brown: Intensity, hardwork mental, and toughness
FWG: What teams have you talked to, and which ones have told them they’re interested?
Brown: Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers, and the New England Patriots. Big Bill (Belichick) was at Pro Day.
FWG: Of the teams that are interested, what do they think your strong points are?
Brown: My speed (FWG inserts combine 40 joke here)….the way I play with leverage.
FWG: Who is your game most closely modeled after?
Brown: Probably the Fat White Guy! Nah I don’t model myself after anyone. I want people to model their game after me—kind of like you did all those years at UConn.
FWG: With so many NFL teams switching to a 3-4, you're likely ticketed for a switch to OLB. What skills do you have that will allow you to make that transition successfully?
Brown: My athletic ability is tremendous so it should allow the transition to be smooth. I also work extremely hard at everything
FWG: Another teammate, OT William Beatty, is considered one of the top tackles in the draft and a potential first-rounder as well. What will the team that drafts him be getting?
Brown: A very smart player with great qualities and high morals…Will is a devoted Christian.
(Editor’s Note: Steve Brouse is a tight end who may sneak into the later rounds of the draft; if not, he’ll be a priority free agent and have an opportunity to make an NFL team in training camp.)
Steve is your prototypical UConn player. While largely unrecruited in high school, through hard work and determination Steve had much success in his tenure at UConn. Solid, consistent performance on the field, including coming back from a near career-ending injury, he has truly self-manifested his dreams of potentially joining the ranks of NFL Players.
Not to mention he was my roommate for almost 4 years. What NFL scouts should be asking is what they’ll do about his lactose-intolerance-driven flatulence, with which he has tortured many a freshman and roommate alike.
FWG: As a prospect coming out of UConn, what do you think your chances of making an NFL squad are?
Brouse: I’d like to think that I have a good chance of making an NFL roster. An important part is finding a team that I’m a good fit for. The consensus is that I’m a fit for the second or third tight end and special teams in the NFL. I’m not exactly the Vernon Davis (4.3 seconds in the 40) type, but I block well and can be effective in the short to mid-range passing game
(FWG Note: I have had the pleasure of meeting Steve numerous times en route to the QB. Whatever NFL team takes him will be getting one of the best block-catch players to ever leave the NCAA.)
FWG: What were your “Pro Day” numbers?
Brouse: Height: 6-foot-3 and 3/4 inches
Weight: 252 lbs
Arm Length: 31 inches
Wingspan: 78 inches
Hand Size: 10 3/8 inches
40 yard dash: 4.88 seconds
20 yard shuttle: 4.33 seconds
60 yard shuttle: 11.72 seconds
3-cone drill: 7.12 seconds
Vertical Jump: 31.5 inches
Broad Jump: 9 feet 7 inches
Bench Press: 15 reps
FWG: Who would you say your “game” is most similar to (current or former NFL player)?
Brouse: Tough question. I’d probably say Giants tight end Kevin Boss. He’s a good blocker and reliable possession receiver.
FWG: What was your emotion on “Pro Day,” seeing all the NFL scouts, and coaches (including big wig Bill Belichick)?
Brouse: I was so juiced up. I couldn’t believe how many NFL teams were represented there. There were 25 out of the 32 teams, ESPN, NFL Network and all the local news stations and reporters. I was more nervous than I’d ever been in my life. You can feel all the eyes on you and it really got my adrenaline pumping.