Arthur Brown | Linebacker | Kansas State | 6', 241 pounds
In 2011, Robert Griffin III was dominant at Baylor. So dominant, in fact, that it took him until October to throw an interception. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, meanwhile, didn't throw an interception until his seventh game in 2012. The man that finally picked off both of those star quarterbacks? Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown.
Brown flies under the radar at times due to his size, but the Miami transfer has the exact skill set teams are looking for in an increasingly fast-paced NFL. Lavonte David and Bobby Wagner broke into the league last year with similar playing styles and made an immediate impact in Tampa Bay and Seattle, respectively.
But don't call him small just because he's short. Brown plays big and should come off the board in the first 40 picks of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Brown's best trait is his incredible range. He ran in the 4.6-second range at Kansas State's pro day and plays with that type of speed on the field. Brown is able to diagnose plays in a hurry and demonstrates incredible short-area quickness to close on plays and make stops. As a tackler, Brown is technically sound and shows plenty of power to stop ball carriers in their tracks. He wraps up well and rarely lets someone slip away.
For a linebacker, Brown is about as good as it gets in coverage. His quickness is a huge asset, and Brown also has quick hips and the ability to stick with guys in man-to-man coverage. He won't be confined to playing man coverage, though, as he has the play recognition to run zone coverage and the quickness to break off of his zone and close on receivers. Most impressive is Brown's ball skills. He contests passes in the air and has the hands to come down with some passes as well.
Despite his size, Brown plays the game physically. He attacks blockers using his hands to keep them out of his pads and is able to shed blockers to make plays. He won't necessarily blow up a blocker and won't ever be mistaken as a thumper, but Brown knows how to avoid blockers and slip into the backfield to make plays on the football. He doesn't shy away from contact and certainly doesn't play the game small.
Brown is a versatile player that should be able to play multiple linebacker positions in a 4-3 front and may even have the skills to play inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He's built well for today's NFL.
Given his size, Brown may not be the best fit as a 3-4 inside linebacker. Having already put on 10 pounds since the end of the season, some question whether Brown will be able to put on more weight at the next level. That won't be an issue unless a team expects Brown to play in a 3-4 defense. Even so, he should have sufficient size and strength to play that role, though his size will raise questions with some teams.
In that same light, Brown occasionally struggles to handle physical tight ends in coverage. Continued improvement of his upper body strength, which he has shown throughout the pre-draft process, should help him improve in this area, but it's definitely one to keep an eye on moving forward.
Brown will be an early candidate for defensive rookie of the year if he finds the right scheme fit for his skills and gets on the field early. He has the instincts to make a quick transition to the NFL and the speed to make tons of tackles as a rookie. Whether he comes off the board in the mid-first round or early second round, Brown should be an instant impact player.
Pro Comparison: Bobby Wagner, Seattle Seahawks
Both Brown and Bobby Wagner share identical size and traits. Both players have the instincts and speed to make up for their lack of height and weight on the football field. If Brown lands in as desirable a situation as Wagner found himself in, watch out for him in his rookie season.