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How Should Orlando Brown Be Evaluated After Poor Combine Showing?

Posted Mar 8, 2018

Once a popular pick for the Ravens at No. 16, that’s no longer the case for Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown Jr. Still, the tape doesn’t lie, and Brown’s connections to Baltimore remain.

The Ravens are a team that puts more weight on the tape than a performance at the NFL Scouting Combine.

But how a prospect measures up against his competition on a level playing field does matter. And it certainly has impacted the draft stock of Oklahoma tackle Orlando Brown Jr.

Now the question is how much.

Just a week ago, Brown was perhaps the most popular projection to the Ravens at pick No. 16. Now most analysts don’t have him going in the first round at all.

Brown had a historically poor performance in Indianapolis. He finished last among offensive linemen in bench press reps (14), vertical jump (19.5 inches) and broad jump (six feet, 10 inches). His 40-yard dash of 5.85 seconds was the slowest of any player at the event.

“Keeping it real, it will be held against me,” Brown said. “All my numbers will be held against me. As an offensive tackle, my numbers are going to be compared to other offensive tackles. That’s just the reality of it.”

Brown explained his low bench press reps by saying he didn’t stick to his breathing routine. He said 14 reps is the fewest he’s ever done, and that he’ll do it again at his Pro Day on March 14. Scouts will be eager to see how much Brown can improve in just more than a week.

The question with Brown is how much of the evaluation should be based on his Combine, or improvement in a week before his Pro Day, versus four years of game tape.

“When are you ever going to watch Orlando Brown run 40 yards down the field?” said Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. “You can watch last year’s tape and see he allowed zero sacks. I’d say that’s pretty important for a left tackle.”

Brown’s greatest strengths aren’t going to change.

He’s massive, standing in at nearly 6-foot-8 inches and 360 pounds (his fluctuating weight is worth noting). By sheer virtue of his size and long arms, he can bully up front and hold off pass rushers. Simply put, it’s tough to get around him.

Second, his knowledge of the game has been nurtured since his youth when his father played 11 years in the NFL, including six seasons in Baltimore. Brown grew up in the Ravens locker room.

“I remember a lot from ‘03 to ’05,” Brown said. “Some of my dad’s really good friends were Ray Lewis, Jamaal Lewis, Ed Reed, Alan Ricard, Priest Holmes, guys like that. I remember being around them. The kids at school would hand me Ray Lewis pictures to be signed and I’d keep them.”

Orlando Brown, nicknamed “Zeus,” died far too early, at just 40 years old, on Sept. 23, 2011. He had diabetic ketoacidosis, an ailment common among diabetics.

His son has watched a lot of his father’s old game tape, and certainly has learned from him, but he’s up-front about saying he doesn’t try to model his game after his father.

“What I learned from my dad was really more a mentality,” Brown said. “He wasn’t the most technical, fundamental football player. It was more the way he approached the game, his work ethic.”

The senior was a mauler. He may be the most intimidating offensive player in Ravens franchise history.

Now his son is up against his own battle, and he’s going to have to fight his way back to prove he can still be a top-notch NFL tackle. But instead of doing it with sheer brute strength, Brown is touting what’s between his ears.

“My football IQ. It’s some of the best in the country,” Brown said.

“It’s honestly my best asset: how I understand the game. I understand the NFL. I understand these schemes and what’s expected. I’m a good learner. And I’m a guy that understands my job isn’t going to just be given to me. I have to take it.”

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