Combine height: 6-0 1/8
Combine weight: 224 pounds
Combine 40 time: 4.49 seconds
Lightly used at North Carolina State, Brown carried a career-high 175 times for 767 yards (4.4 yards per carry) as a senior, with seven touchdowns. He added 29 receptions for 309 yards and two scores. For his Wolfpack career, Brown carried 523 times for 2,539 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and 22 touchdowns, with 70 catches for 631 yards and two touchdowns.
Brown is a good straight-ahead runner; though he runs somewhat upright, he lowers his pads and keeps his legs and feet moving to pick up additional yards after contact. He’s nimble, but he’s far more apt to run over a defender than he is to make him miss. Scouts are concerned that he will hesitate and dance in the backfield when a hole isn’t immediately evident; he’s most effective when he plants and goes and would be a good fit in a zone-blocking, one-cut scheme.
The South squad’s Outstanding Player at the Senior Bowl, Brown has good quickness but hasn’t flashed elite top-end speed. While he never saw enough carries at North Carolina State to rush for 1,000 yards in any one season, he was a productive member of the passing game and the Wolfpack’s second-leading receiver as a senior. He also acquits himself well in pass protection and would have no problems staying on the field all three downs. There are durability concerns, as Brown missed time as a junior with a foot injury that required a second surgery prior to his senior campaign.
Brown could fill a couple different needs, as either the inside complement to a smaller, shiftier back or as a potential featured ball-carrier. Expected to go off the board early on the second day of the draft, Brown has multiple landing options. Do the Chiefs jettison Larry Johnson and add Brown to a backfield that would also include Jamaal Charles? Is Brown a complement/heir to Cedric Benson in Cincinnati or Jamal Lewis in Cleveland (which would require either a trade or a 2nd or 4th round pick, as the Browns don’t have a third-rounder)? Could Brown take some carries from Frank Gore in San Francisco, Steve Slaton in Houston, or Darren Sproles in San Diego (assuming the LaDainian Tomlinson situation isn’t ironed out by draft day)? Brown could also offer options to the Colts, as a younger Dominic Rhodes-type complement to Joseph Addai.
Certainly one of the keys for Brown will be his ability to stay healthy, and his NFL team may opt to ease him into Sundays by using him as part of a backfield-by-committee. His straight-ahead style could mean short-yardage and goal-line work, and his receiving skills and ability in pass protection should at least put him in the mix on third downs and in passing situations. He could find himself in a situation where a team might want to turn him into the feature back (think Tim Hightower with the Cardinals), but he likely won’t have to be drafted as an expected starter.
While Brown enters the league with a lower profile than the likes of Knowshon Moreno or Chris “Beanie” Wells, he certainly has the skills to be a load-carrying back in the NFL. His potential to provide immediate value in touchdown-heavy and PPR leagues makes him an intriguing sleeper pick in any format and at minimum reduces his risk in a dynasty league—where his upside could pay major dividends down the road.