Arthur Brown: How Will Baltimore's Newest ILB Fare in the Pros?
Given the Baltimore Ravens' need for a playmaker at the inside linebacker position, many projected Kansas State's Arthur Brown to be the Ravens' choice at the end of Round 1 with the No. 32 overall selection. Instead, the Ravens were able to get him late in Round 2, trading up six spots to the No. 56 overall pick for the opportunity to draft Brown.
A tremendous athlete with sideline-to-sideline range, Brown has the most upside of any inside linebacker in the 2013 NFL draft class.
Brown is a tremendous fit to take over the role Ray Lewis played in the middle of the Baltimore 3-4 defense. He is an explosive athlete who attacks and defeats blockers at the line of scrimmage as a run defender, while he also excels at dropping back into coverage.
Comparing Brown to Ray Lewis would be ludicrous, but while no player could ever make Ravens fans forget about Lewis, he will be an upgrade over where Lewis was in his declining years the past two seasons. A playmaker as both a run defender and in pass coverage, Brown can be a three-down linebacker in the NFL, and can be used in creative blitz packages, but also in any passing situation.
The Baltimore Ravens are typically a great choice as a fantasy football defense, but their heavy losses this offseason could make fantasy football players leery of drafting the Ravens' defense early. Selecting Brown, however, will help stabilize the Ravens' defense, as he will be able to fill the role played by Lewis (and Dannell Ellerbe when Lewis was injured) for many years.
Having lost both Lewis and Ellerbe, the Ravens had a massive need to upgrade at inside linebacker. While Brown has had some shoulder issues, he should be an immediate favorite to earn a starting spot alongside two McClains (Jameel and Rolando) at inside linebacker.
Neither McClain is a big playmaker at the position, but Brown can be that immediately, and should be a three-down player in the Baltimore defense.
Outside of the top-50 picks, Brown was an absolute steal for the taking late in Round 2. The Ravens were smart to pounce on the opportunity to select him by trading up, at the cost of their fifth- and sixth-round picks.
Brown is well worth the price of two Day 3-picks for the opportunity to select him, and he will be an impact player where the Ravens needed it most at inside linebacker. This pick should go down as one of the best value selections of the 2013 draft.
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