A versatile defender seen by some teams as a linebacker prospect, Jatavis Brown is a freak athlete with true three-down ability no matter if he’s playing with a 50 or 20 on his chest.
Brown is an excellent coverage player when viewed through the prism of a linebacker or strong safety. He is able to match up against tight ends at the line of scrimmage or off in a zone and gets to his work quickly. He has excellent hips to drop into a zone and take away the flats, but he’s fast enough to carry his man up the seam. With a 4.47 time in the 40 at the regional combine, he has safety speed with a linebacker’s mentality.
A potential impact player as a run defender and blitzer, Brown was productive in those roles at Akron, notching 11.5 sacks and 19.5 tackles for a loss in 2015. With 116 total tackles on the year, he was living around the football.
He may be a ‘tweener without a true position, but Brown is one of the most impressive players in college football and has the athletic ability and instincts to become a starter in the NFL very soon.
Brown dominated a small-school schedule at Akron and had a low-impact game (for him) when tested against Oklahoma in Week 1. With a small frame that’s caught somewhere between a weak-side linebacker and a strong safety, there will be teams that discount his next-level transition.
With 25 missed tackles in the last two seasons, his frame and level of competition will come up again. He has to improve his timing and technique when wrapping up ball-carriers and not rely on power to strike runners and expect them to fall.
Against the run, Brown can be washed down by blockers, and those projecting him at linebacker are ignoring that he was not effective at stacking-and-shedding or setting the edge as a run defender.
Weight: 227 lbs.
40 Time: 4.44s
Short Shuttle: 4.31s
PRO COMPARISON: Patrick Chung, New England Patriots
FINAL GRADE: 5.99/9.00 (Round 3-4—Future Starter)