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Why I like the decision to draft WR Dyami Brown

more speed for the offense

Virginia Tech v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In the third round of the draft on the last day of April, the Washington Football Team used the 82nd overall pick to select Dyami Brown, wide receiver out of the University of North Carolina. There are a lot of reasons to get excited about this player on this team.

Let’s start, not with Dyami Brown, but with Washington’s recent history with third round draft picks. Sure, there have been a few misses along the way, but since 2013, the 3rd round has brought us Jordan Reed, Morgan Moses, Kendall Fuller, Fabian Moreau, Terry McLaurin, and Antonio Gibson. That’s a lot of quality football players.

Dyami Brown looks like he’ll fit right in. In fact, there are reasons to believe that he’ll be something of a Terry McLaurin redux of sorts. When the Brown selection was announced, NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah rather sheepishly admitted that his “NFL comp” for Brown was...Terry McLaurin.

Each player is 6’0”, though McLaurin is a little bit stockier at 210 pounds vs 195 for Brown. Both are fast — Brown was clocked at a 4.45 40-time at his pro day; Terry ran a 4.35 40 at his Combine.

Brown had the more explosive college career, and led the Tarheels in receiving yards each of the last two years, caching over 50 balls and amassing over 1,000 receiving yards in each, with a combined total of 20 TDs in those two seasons.

Putting stress on defenses

Brown is a deep threat, and he will help Scott Turner’s offense stretch NFL defenses. In the 2020 season with the Tarheels, Brown averaged 20.0 yards per catch. He has speed and the skills to make opposing DBs pay for a moment of hesitation or a half-step in the wrong direction. He also tracks the ball well in the air – a necessary skill for any deep ball receiving threat.

Brown isn’t the biggest receiver around, but he has a good release from the line of scrimmage, allowing him to win matchups against defenders.

With Terry McLaurin as a teammate, Brown is sure to get even better in his ability to release at the line of scrimmage and execute well-run routes, as these are McLaurin’s greatest skills, aside from his reliable hands.

If Brown has a weakness, it is that he is an inconsistent catcher of the ball. Among Tarheel fans he has a reputation of making all the tough catches and winning on contested ball, but then letting easy catches go to the ground. Coach Ron Rivera stressed Brown’s ability to win contested balls as part of what caught the attention of the coach and the Washington scouts, saying at the post-draft interview on Friday, “Man, when he competed for [the ball], he went and got it!”

Brown appears to be one of only three receivers that is a “lock” for the 53-man roster, along with last year’s team captain Terry McLaurin and this off-season’s premier free agent signing, Curtis Samuel. After that, there will be a lot of guys battling for 2 or three roster spots.

Read: WFT Depth Chart

It’s not clear exactly how Scott Turner will deploy his array of receiving weapons, which is much deeper and more talented than a year ago, but it seems certain that Brown will be on the field a lot. The thought of McLaurin, Samuel and Brown all on the field at the same time with Fitzpatrick at QB has to make any Washington fan with memories of the vertical passing game that the Redskins had with Art Monk, Gary Clark and Ricky Sanders feel all warm and fuzzy inside. There are very few quarterbacks in the league who are willing to risk throwing downfield and trusting their receivers more than Ryan Fitzpatrick.

AP Photo/David Becker

With gunslinger Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing the ball, Brown is likely to have plenty of chances to show off both his speed and his contested ball skills. Fitzpatrick is fearless when it comes to throwing deep or throwing into tight windows. With the plethora of offensive weapons at the quarterback’s disposal in 2021, Washington fans are likely to have a lot of fun watching the burgundy & gold offense push the ball down the field every week.