clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Orlando Brown will play for the same NFL team as his father, ‘Zeus’ Brown

Brown had a historically bad combine performance, but he still has the tools to be a starting offensive lineman in the NFL.

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Former Oklahoma Sooners offensive tackle Orlando Brown will join the team where his father played for much of his career. On Friday, he was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens, with the No. 83 pick in the third round 2018 NFL Draft.

Brown is the son of former Cleveland Browns and Ravens tackle “Zeus” Brown. Edwin Mulitalo, a former Ravens offensive lineman who played with Zeus Brown, announced the selection.

Orlando Brown was originally thought to be a first-round pick before a disastrous performance at the NFL Combine kickstarted his slide down draft boards.

Still, it’s a pick with a strong chance of being a steal for Baltimore.

Why did the Ravens pick Brown?

Brown is a massive figure who made devastating blocks at every level in just about every game he played in with the Sooners. At 6’8 and 340 pounds (he lost five pounds between the combine and his pro day workout), he’s a veritable mountain of a man with an abundance of film showing him tossing around some of the best defenders in the nation. He gave up just one sack last season — in the Rose Bowl against Georgia — while protecting Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield’s blind side.

Following his struggles at the combine, Brown improved on all of metrics at the Oklahoma’s pro day, posting better bench press, 40-yard dash, broad jump, and vertical leap numbers than he did there. That has to alleviate some of the concerns, and his list of positives is a long one.

Plus all the reasons he was considered good before the combine: He’s tough to get around because he’s so big, and when he engages, he’s very good at staying engaged. He’s an imposing presence with a reputation of being a finisher. His length gives him good recovery. He’s known as a high-effort player, and plays until the whistle.

Can he start right away?

Brown is NFL ready, though it might be better if the Ravens is patient on bringing him along. He was considered the top tackle in the draft prior to the combine, and despite starting at left tackle for three years at OU, he projects to be a right tackle in the NFL.

There are aspects of his game that need coaching up. He tends to miss blocks in open space at the second level. His initial punch is fast, but it could be faster — there’s some wasted motion that needs to be reduced. But NFL coaches should be able to get him ready right away.

What’s the risk?

Brown’s poor combine performance isn’t exaggerated — it was historically bad. It was, at the very least, the worst combine performance of any prospect in at least the last two decades.

He put up just 14 reps on the bench press, almost laughably low for players at his position. He ran a 5.86 40-yard dash, also incredibly slow, even for an offensive lineman. His broad jump of 6’10 was the worst among offensive linemen. His vertical leap was 19.5 inches, the only prospect to record one below 20 inches. His 20-yard shuttle time of 5.38 seconds was tied for last among prospects in 2018.

But weight isn’t necessarily an issue. He lost some going into his pro day, and once weighed 415 pounds in high school. Brown is tall enough that it actually starts to become a detriment, as he can’t get as low as he needs to for leverage in run blocking.

Was this a good pick?

Brown might still be living down his combine performance, but he’s got a chance to be a starter for the Ravens and that’s good value in the third round. How he adapts to faster-paced game in the NFL will depend on how quickly he can contribute, but he could soon prove he was worth the gamble.