Every year there are a number of hidden gems that may not be the most polished college stars, or highlighted at the top of draft boards entering the NFL Draft. Having played alongside first-round talent Jimmy Smith, it’s no secret that Colorado cornerback Jalil Brown was often stuck in the shadows. However, he still managed to not only make a name for himself, but also led the team in interceptions in 2010.
Similar to Smith, the 6-0, 202-pound corner possesses the prototypical build that a coach will relish at the next level. Brown is a beast in man coverage and plays with great strength, toughness, aggression, competitiveness and confidence. He recorded 21 pass deflections, 167 tackles and 6 interceptions in his collegiate career.
Like all middle-round prospects however, there are some downsides that have prevented his stock from soaring to a first-round grade.
He gets buried at times when engaging in the backfield instead of staying in zone coverage. He has trouble maintaining a strong motor for extended periods and can become a little stiff in the hips. Brown will need to learn to thoroughly wrap up ball carriers, instead of ducking his head of leaving his feet in the NFL. By fine-tuning these and a few additional techniques, he can become a more powerful and explosive hitter at the next level.
Brown flourishes in jamming receivers off their routes from the line of scrimmage, which of course is no picnic for the quarterback trying to find an open man down the field. He performs outstandingly when able to watch the eyes of the quarterback; his strength in man-coverage illustrates his blazing speed in all-important game situations.
Nonetheless, he may not have had the best luck at the Combine, as he was overshadowed by acrobatic Texas cornerback Curtis Brown, who participated in the position drills just before him. Moreover, his numbers weren’t very strong, and the analysts seemed to forget he was even in attendance. Fortunately, team scouts and coaches liked what they witnessed and he did partake in all measurements and required position drills. He also exemplified great character in his interview. Brown knew he needed to elevate himself to improve his stock and secure a Top 100 spot in this year’s draft.
Two weeks ago it was go-time for Brown to step up a notch and make his presence felt in the audience at the Colorado Pro Day. His numbers improved greatly and was mostly seen in his 40-time, which changed from a low 4.5 to a low 4.4, and the position drills, where, analogous to Smith, looked as sharp as a two-edged sword.
In the Big 12, the two teammates were a lethal combo and formed one the best cornerback duos in the nation. Brown had more pressure and more action on his side of the field as Smith was one who injected more fear.
Last week he began working out for teams throughout the league and has more on the docket this week as well. In the NFL, look for him to find success just as he did in college as a highly-respected team captain. With his quick feet, long arms and great awareness, Brown will be able to stay with the opposing receiver on the outside and down the sideline, break up passes like Godzilla and put his offense back on the field with game-changing interceptions.
Brown looks to be an honest straight-shooter, tell-them-like-it-is player. During a combine interview he said, “I’ve been working hard since the season was over. I just want everybody to know I’m a guy they might be sleeping on.”
His likely destination lies between the third and fourth round, but could crack the bottom of round two in a cornerback class that lacks depth. Fortunately, there are many teams with needs to address in the secondary, and someone may be waiting to pull the trigger on a player with great character.
With the right coaching and physical tools in place, there’s no question Jalil Brown can shine in the NFL.