NFL Combine Was a Perfect Showcase for Draft's Super Sleeper WR John Brown

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IFebruary 23, 2014

Pittsburg State wide receiver John Brown makes a catch as he runs a runs a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

John Brown needed a huge combine performance to emerge from relative obscurity as a receiver with a common name from the other Pittsburgh with a different spelling.

He did just that. 

Out of Pittsburg State—no "h"—in Kansas, the 5'10'', 179-pound receiver caught the attention of NFL general managers, scouts and head coaches with an exceptionally athletic showing during the on-field workouts in Indianapolis on Sunday morning.

Oregon State's Brandin Cooks' 4.33 in the 40-yard dash was the only faster time than Browns' 4.34 in the famed event at the wideout position.

Both had blistering 10-yard splits of 1.50. For perspective, Sammy Watkins ran an official 4.43 with a 1.53 10-yard split. 

Let's get to know Brown, the Gorilla star. 


Who is John Brown? 

During the 2012 season, the Homestead, Fla., native led Pitt State with 63 receptions for 973 yards and eight touchdowns. 

He also returned 28 punts and finished with a 15.4-yard average and a score. 

But that wasn't his first huge collegiate season—Brown was even better in 2011.

As a sophomore, he snagged 61 passes for 1,216 yards with 12 receiving touchdowns. Brown averaged 13.7 yards per return and took three kicks to the house.

In 2013, he hit the 61-catch mark again for 1,198 yards with 14 more scores as a wideout. 

To put it succinctly, Brown was incredibly productive at the Division II level. 

The Gorillas play in the Mid-American Intercollegiate Athletic Association, the same conference as Lindenwood University, the school future NFL cornerback Pierre Desir attended. 

Pittsburg State rolled Lindenwood 41-6 in 2013, and Brown caught three passes for 91 yards and a touchdown. 

In a 44-33 loss to Desir's college the previous year, Brown made five catches for 86 yards and a score. 


Combine Perspective

One of the knocks on Brown, beside the level of competition he played at Pitt State, may be his 8.5-inch hands, the second smallest among all wide receivers at the combine. 

In 2013, only Georgia's Marlon Brown, Syracuse's Alec Lemon and Texas A&M's Ryan Swope had smaller hands than Brown. 

However, Swope was drafted in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals, and though Brown went undrafted, he caught seven touchdowns as a rookie for the Baltimore Ravens. 

John Brown one-on-one with Pierre Desir
John Brown one-on-one with Pierre DesirJeff Roberson/Associated Press

Also, T.Y. Hilton's hands were 8.5-inches at the 2012 combine. While he didn't run the 40 inside Lucas Oil Stadium that year, he sprinted for a time of 4.34 at the Florida International Pro Day, per Anthony Cosenza of the Cincy Jungle.

Frankly, NFL teams could see Brown as a Hilton-esque prospect. 

Smaller stature and hands. Less than ideal level of competition. Impressive production. 

While he may not be selected in the third round like Hilton was, with a super fast 40 at the combine, John Brown did very well for himself and his draft stock.