Preston Brown, ILB, Louisville (HT: 6’1¼” WT: 251 lbs.)
Third Round: 73rd Pick
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- Truly instinctive linebacker who diagnoses plays quickly.
- Plays faster than he times due to high football IQ and decisiveness.
- Is a freight train when he has speed built up.
- Makes great use of his long arms and big hands.
- Plays off cut blocks with anticipation and shows fine balance overall.
- Fluid hips with smooth footwork in his backpedal to drop in coverage.
- Uses large wingspan to get his hands on passes from underneath zone coverage.
- Experienced and productive blitzer as a collegiate linebacker.
- Times his blitzes effectively.
- Can bend around pass-blockers with fantastic flexibility.
- Closes down spaces as a run defender by quickly coming forward, does not hesitate.
- Is able to get into gaps before blockers get to him through decisiveness and instincts.
- Has size and strength to take on blocks and hold his ground.
- Picks his way through congestion in the box with relative ease.
- Flows laterally over the top with shoulders square and stays balanced.
- Possesses big-hit ability.
- Made plays in the backfield at a high rate for an inside linebacker.
- Has the build to hold up in the NFL and was a durable player at Louisville.
- Little athletic upside as a whole.
- Lacks a significantly quick first step to accelerate.
- Minimal closing speed in the open field, won’t often make plays at the boundaries.
- Lacks short-area quickness to change directions while following the eyes of the QB in coverage.
- Liability in man coverage, unable to limit separation due to athletic limitations.
- Guilty of taking false steps and losing position, gets overanxious on occasion.
- Gets caught trying to run around blocks instead of stacking and playing off with his hands.
- Aims too high as a tackler and doesn’t sink hips to drive through ball carriers with power.
- Dives at the knees of ball carriers if he brings aiming point down, no happy medium.
- Doesn’t always play to his size or with optimal physicality.
- Played with bad weight in 2013, could have problems with weight fluctuation as a professional.
- A 3-star prospect as a recruit in class of 2010, 69th-ranked outside linebacker by ESPN.
- 2012 All-Big East second team.
- 2013 All-American Athletic Conference second team.
- Three-year starter for the Cardinals.
Preston Brown is certainly one of the more overlooked prospects in an uninspiring group of inside linebackers. Part of that is because his teammates stole the spotlight on the Louisville defense. Brown had a fantastic season in his own right and projects as a linebacker prospect who can produce on his first day on the job.
Brown’s intelligence and play-recognition skills ease concerns with his athleticism. He also does a variety of things at the level of an NFL starter. A 3-4 defense that doesn’t ask him to match up with tight ends with regularity will get significant returns on their investment. The one thing teams will have to do their homework on is how Brown manages his weight.
Draft Projection: Third-Fourth Round