A.J. Brown, WR
School: Ole Miss | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 226 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Late 1st or 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Quincy Enunwa
A.J. Brown is the premier ‘big slot’ prospect in this draft. Brown has had a highly successful 3-year career at Ole Miss. His production was so good the last two seasons he was able to secure several spots in the school record books. He is first in career receiving yards (2,984), he is 3rd in catches (189), and 5th in touchdowns (19). Brown’s journey to Ole Miss was interesting to say the least. In 2016 he was a 4-star recruit and a native of Starkville, Mississippi (Mississippi State territory). Most thought he would commit to Mississippi State, others thought Alabama and Cal had a strong chance since Brown took visits to those schools. On National Signing Day Brown shocked a lot of people when he put on that Ole Miss cap. Turns out he made a good decision. Brown is likely to be in consideration for some teams as early as the late first round. The slot position certainly isn’t what it used to be and Brown has the skillset to win in the NFL and be that main guy working out of it. There are some concerns about his overall athleticism and how he approaches some nuances of the position but he is generally considered a high floor prospect. Brown was able to put up great numbers working with a sub par QB and two other great receiving talents at Ole Miss. I think everyone wants to know what he’s capable of in the NFL.
- Excellent size, good quickness, good athleticism and strength for the position.
- Brown runs good routes and can be really crisp on his cuts. That efficiency is good to see. When he comes back he is always ready for the ball and is a natural pass catcher.
- While he doesn’t have blazing speed he goes have good short area quickness and acceleration. This is part of what makes him so good in the slot and how he can create separation. His size comes in handy in this area as well and his strength and physicality helps him get yards after the catch.
- He has good body control and can contort his body and adjust to the ball as he’s tracking it. Made several impressive sideline and end zone catches in his career.
- Physical and competitive blocker.
- Fluidity and athleticism are questioned when people mention moving him out of the slot. Some wonder if he has the burst and long speed to stretch the field while others worry he lacks the agility to avoid defenders in open space. There also have even been questions about his leaping ability and he doesn’t appear he can get much air which limits his high point ability.
- Worked a lot against off coverage related to the above there are questions about his initial footwork and selling ability if he’s pressed and not given a clean release.
- Ran a pretty simple route tree at Ole Miss, if teams do want to try him outside he’ll likely have to learn a few more patterns.
Let’s see his work:
An early WR1 candidate in #DynastyFootball rankings, Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown is primarily a big slot at 6”1, 230 lbs. He stands out for his college production, ability to separate, strong hands, and YAC. What stood out on tape for me was the powerful jab step he uses to separate. pic.twitter.com/81w92IbpL1— Anthony (@DynastyFire365) February 25, 2019
A.J. Brown is a carbon copy of Quincy Enunwa. Both live in the basement, but can have an impact in spurts outside as well.— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) February 23, 2019
Strong hands, compact bodies, and overbearing play strength allow them to easily break tackles. pic.twitter.com/TicPOBs2pN
A.J. Brown creates separation on this double move by maintaining speed through his cuts. pic.twitter.com/QWsAYohAWW— Jared Smola (@SmolaDS) February 26, 2019
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
A.J. Brown is obviously one of the best receivers in this draft. I think his athleticism is just fine generally speaking but I can also see the concern criticisms people raise regarding that aspect of this game. You have to know what he is and play to his strengths. That is obviously his ability to create separation over the middle, his reliable hands, and his ability to pick up yards after the catch. For the Redskins, I wouldn’t be mad if they tried him outside but there is nothing wrong is a big go-to receiver in the slot. Brown would easily be the strongest and most balanced receiver have on the team and would represent an interesting transition at the position assuming Jamison Crowder leaves in FA. Brown would also be a nice security blanket for any QB who takes snaps under center next season. He won’t run a 4.3 but he understands angles and space and definitely can take short catches and make them big gains. I also think Brown would be a nice fit in the current timing based west coast offense the Redskins run. If you can hit him in stride rather than on an out or a comeback he can do a lot of damage. Brown is probably considered one of the safest picks in the draft at the position which is high praise for any wide receiver. He could easily become the Redskins #1 option working out of the slot.