Leading up to the 2017 college football season, the CFB Film Room Scouting Dept. is putting together a summer scouting series. We’re focusing on the top draft-eligible prospects entering the 2017 season and will be reviewing their strengths and weaknesses from an NFL scouting perspective.
Among the top offensive linemen heading into the 2017 season is Oklahoma left tackle Orlando Brown Jr.
Brown, a redshirt Junior, surprised many last season when he announced his return to the Sooners, citing he would remain in Norman until he received a first round grade from the NFL’s advisory board. At 6’7” and 358 lbs, Brown possesses NFL-ready size to go along with his NFL pedigree while racking up numerous accolades last season including Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year, Second Team AP All-American and First-Team All-Conference.
After a shaky freshman year in which Brown allowed eight sacks, he rebounded with a stellar performance in 2016. During his redshirt sophomore year, Brown did not allow a single sack and gave up just seven quarterback pressures overall.
In this version of the Summer Scouting Series, we take a closer look at the traits Orlando Brown Jr. possesses that put him on the radar for next years NFL Draft.
While size is not a skill, maneuvering a body of his size is most definitely skillful. The Sooners ask Brown to complete a number of blocks within their spread option offensive scheme, and to a large degree Brown was extremely successful, but he does struggle in certain facets of the offense.
Brown utilizes his strength and arm length to leverage opponents, primarily in pass protenction, and relies on his strength to make up for any technical deficiencies. However, he struggles in space when climbing to the second level as his lateral agility and quickness are only marginal.
The Sooners are able to hide their big lineman on outside screens by rolling away from Brown, using play action and misdirection to create space for their targets.
There is no denying Brown’s best trait is his ability to drive block where he can enforce his size and strength to engulf the opponent at the point of attack. When defenders are aligned head-up on Brown, he will win a majority of the time. Orlando excels in wham and down blocks and uses his strength to turn the opponent to open up running lanes off tackle.
As mentioned earlier, Brown has exceptional arm length which allows him to create space, making up for a lack of efficiency with his footwork. He shows good timing and punch at the snap and is able to utilize good hand strength to lockout and steer defenders.
Brown’s size and physical stature provide him with a solid ability to anchor versus a bull rush without having to focus on mechanics. However, he tends to play with high pad level, leaving him susceptible to more nimble pass rushers who can bend, causing Orlando to become off balance by reaching or lunging.
One area of concern is with his post-snap mental processing, something that could be exposed at the next level versus more disguised blitz packages and is likely an area he will work to improve during the 2017 season.
With obvious deficiencies in mental processing and marginal ability in space, Orlando Brown Jr. has a difficult time executing the zone blocking scheme.
When asked to pull, Brown has a difficulty executing a block and struggles to quickly locate and line up the target in the alley. He struggles to execute reach blocks due to marginal lateral quickness and rarely gets hands on the defenders when climbing to the second level. He will need to improve his footwork in 2017 to show he can be effective in the NFL where a majority of teams utilize zone blocking schemes.
The Oklahoma left tackle does a lot of things well, but Brown can prove he is worthy of a first-round grade by improving in a few key areas while consistently showing competitive toughness during the upcoming season.
He has the size and stature to be a physical force at the next level with improved mechanics, including his pre-snap stance, but lacks the nastiness to finish the play through the whistle that is coveted by NFL coaches. While he lacks the lateral quickness and agility to be an NFL caliber left tackle, his skill set best translates to guard at the next level. A move inside will limit his exposure versus speedier edge rushers and he will be able to impose his size and strength versus opposing 1 and 3 Techniques in close quarters.