Wednesday Practice Notes: Brown had a very solid afternoon. He ran well inside the tackles, hitting the holes with authority. Also showed good speed getting to the edge and picking up some yardage outside the hash marks.
As for Anthony Hill
Caught the ball well again today in both receiving drills and scrimmage work. Handled his man more often than not in 1-on-1 pass blocking drills with the linebackers.
ESPN.com’s Todd McShay is a lot more effusive in his praise of Brown, saying that
North Carolina State RB Andre Brown has admittedly had durability and academic issues, but he’s healthy now and shining in this environment. In fact, of all the South backs we saw Wednesday, he made the best impression. Brown is a decisive downhill runner who has good size, shows good burst to the hole and runs with enough forward body lean to pick up yards after contact. Although he’s not the most elusive back, he catches the ball well and can contribute as a receiver out of the backfield. We now think he has a chance to come off the board early on Day 2 of the draft, and that’s noteworthy because he didn’t put up great numbers in college.
Bringing up Brown’s stats is interesting for several reasons: first, he never had a decent line to run behind until this year, and this year’s OL group is hardly one of Tom O’Brien’s vintage groups. TOB and staff are still building their OL factory and it is far from complete. Secondly, Brown has always shared duties in the backfield, first with Toney Baker, and later with Jamelle Eugene. Finally, Brown needed some good coaching, which he got over the past couple of seasons. Early in his career, it would be fair to say that Brown was more interested in bouncing off the line and free-lancing than he was in getting the three or four tough yards. While he hit a number of spectacular home runs, he certainly was not a posession back in the classical sense. Dana Bible and his offensive staff turned Brown’s compass to N-S and probably made him into a legit pro prospect. For Brown, it’s too bad that didn’t happen his freshman year. In short, I wouldn’t look to closely at his final stat page as being representative of the true sum of his abilities.
My personal prediction for Andre Brown is that he will be the sort of back that doesn’t get noticed in the draft but after a couple of years when he gets used to playing in the NFL, he’s going to have a lot of GM’s scratching their heads and wondering why they didn’t draft him when they had the chance. While Brown is not a sure thing, he’s a tough, versatile runner and one who can not only deliver a blow, but also one who is probably not going to be taken down by the first guy that hits him. If (and it is a big if) Dre stays healthy, and gets on the right team, I think we will certainly be hearing his name in the highlights most weeks.