When Stanford cornerback Terrence Brown declared himself as an entrant for the 2013 NFL draft, foregoing his redshirt-senior season, it may have been seen as a curious decision. However, he will be graduating with a dual-degree in science and technology this June and will hope to take his underrated measurables to the next level.
Brown is projected as a late-round pick at best, but is more of a candidate to be a priority free agent after the draft is over. He is not the only Stanford defensive back to get tagged with the late-round stigma in recent years, as Delano Howell and (perhaps most notably) Richard Sherman have gone on to NFL success in some form.
He will look to become the next such player to find similar successes.
A two-year starter with the Cardinal, Brown has shown the ability to make plays as a cover corner. He has a long frame at 6 ‘1” and enough explosiveness with a 36.5 vertical jump (according to gostanford.com) to compete with larger receivers at the next level.
Brown is very intelligent when it comes to diagnosing matchups at the line of scrimmage and will stick his nose around the backfield when he needs to.
Although Brown has a long frame, he has not yet grown into it. He is listed at 178 pounds according to the school’s athletic website, so he would need to bulk up to see consistent play in the NFL. He also struggles to bring down bigger receivers when matched up in man, which he mostly played at Stanford.
Brown has fairly good closing speed, but he is not athletic enough to catch faster receivers once he has been beat. He did not have a reported time for the 40-yard dash this offseason; Stanford Pro Day results did not list a time for Brown for the event.
Stanford CB Terrence Brown is visiting the Texans today and Chargers later this week. Later round guy, but has good size.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) April 1, 2013
Brown possesses the height that teams are looking for with the ever-growing wide receivers at the NFL level, but he still needs to add at least 10-15 pounds in muscle during the offseason. Brown did compete in the 60-yard shuttle, where he posted a 11.41 second time.
A Stanford education helps in this category, Stanford being the premier academic institutions in the country. In a statement regarding his draft declaration, Brown called his admission to Stanford “a life-changing event.” Brown was a leader for the Cardinal defense and one of only two starters to leave for the draft.
Brown mostly played man at Stanford, but he will likely have to move inside because of his lack of speed and strength.
Playing the Ball
The former Cardinal corner has not produced a lot of turnovers, but he did lead the team in pass deflections as a senior with nine. He finished with 14 pass deflections during a three-year career. Brown has the explosiveness to reach balls thrown high, but has not shown consistent enough hands to bring down an interception. He had two career interceptions at Stanford.
Against the Run
Brown is much better in pass defense than run defense. He was rarely called upon to come up to help, but he did have four tackles for losses during his Stanford career. Brown does not do a great job of containing speedy backs that bounce outside of the tackles and will often get taken out of the play on a block.
Stanford played man almost exclusively under coaches David Shaw and Jim Harbaugh while Brown was a player there. He can stay with his man as long as they have the same relative speed, but he gets taken out of plays too often. Brown was tasked with Justin Blackmon during the 2012 Fiesta Bowl and was unable to stay with him on a good portion of throws in his direction.
Brown saw very little zone at Stanford, but could transition nicely into a slot corner in a zone in the NFL. Teams may see him as depth on the outside because of his height, but he is not strong enough to cover top receivers. But he's smart enough to be able to make a play on a secondary read, which could make him a good zone corner.
He is an able tackler, but not a sound tackler. Shiftier receivers or running backs are able to sneak out of Brown’s arms with relative ease. He does not always take good angles on quick throws in the flat, which allows the receiver to get to the next level of the defense after missed tackles by Brown. Brown was involved in plenty of “gang tackles” in the open field but struggled to get bigger players down by himself.
Brown is a little bit stiff in backpedaling and not very quick out of his break. Good route runners at the next level will be able to take advantage of this quality. The aforementioned bad angles will also hurt Brown if he is asked to press receivers at the line of scrimmage.
Future Role/Scheme Versatility
Brown will likely be nothing more than a depth player for a team, although that was said plenty about recent Stanford defensive backs in the last few drafts. He does have versatility with schemes, having played man in college and possessing the skill set to learn zone effectively.