Summary: Entering the 2014 season, the Texas defensive lineman who had the most hype was defensive end Cedric Reed. However immediately at the start of the season, it was clear that Brown was the difference-maker and a standout player on the Longhorns' defensive line.
In 2013, Brown recorded 58 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, one sack and five passes batted. The sophomore had a number of impressive games, including performances against Oklahoma State, Iowa State and TCU. Texas changed coaching staffs following the season, and Brown was fortunate to land Charlie Strong, who has had a lot of success developing defensive talent for the NFL.
That held true with Brown as he took his game to another level in 2014. The junior became an excellent interior pass-rusher with the power to shed blocks. Brown had 6.5 sacks, 71 tackles, 13 for a loss, one pass batted and two forced fumbles on the year. He was tough to block with a good motor.
As a prospect, Brown is a rare commodity with his ability to rush the passer from the interior. He has the speed to fire by guards as a three-technique lining up on their outside shoulders. Browns closes on the quarterback in a hurry, and his speed makes him very tough to single-block. He also has power in his bull rush to drive blockers down the middle. With his power and speed, Brown projects to being a tough interior pass-rusher in the NFL.
Brown can be a physical defender in the ground game as well. He has a strong base to anchor and hold his ground. Brown also is able to eat up some guard/center double-teams without getting blown out of his gap. Brown can get into trouble when he stands up too high, but generally he plays with nice pad level. Brown is good at shedding his block and making tackles close to the line of scrimmage.
For the NFL, Brown is very versatile. He would be a great fit in a 4-3 defense. Brown could be a three-technique who gets after the quarterback while also having the size to be a nose tackle. In a 3-4, he would fit best as a nose tackle, but he is skilled enough to play some on the end. Brown could fit any NFL scheme.
In the 2015 NFL Draft, Brown looks like a first-round pick who could go in the top half of the first round.
Player Comparison: Kevin Williams. Brown may not be as good as Williams has been, but Brown could become a really good player in the NFL. Williams has been a steady pass-rusher and good run-defender during his career. Brown could become a well-rounded difference-maker like Williams.
NFL Matches: Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Green Bay
Given the demand for interior defensive linemen in the NFL, there shouldn't be any shortage of teams hoping to land Brown in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. The highest spot Brown could potentially hope to land would be with Chicago at the seventh-overall pick. The Bears could use a nose tackle for Vic Fangio's 3-4 set, plus John Fox has used big defensive tackles in his 4-3 as well.
Brown could be a target for Cleveland. He could play in the middle of the Browns' 3-4 defense and fits the personalities that they want to build up the locker room. Brown could be a fit for Cleveland at selection No. 12, and he may not make it to pick No. 19.
San Francisco might consider some defensive line help given the retirement of Justin Smith and Ray McDonald leaving. If the 49ers take Brown, they could move Quinton Dial to end as a potential replacement for Smith, or play Brown at end.
If Brown slides out of the top 20, he could be a fit for Cincinnati. The Bengals could use an upgrade over Domata Peko, and Brown would add to a pass rush that was very lacking in 2014.
Pittsburgh also could make a lot of sense for Brown. The Steelers could use an upgrade at nose tackle in their 3-4 sets, plus Pittsburgh wants to mix in more 4-3. Brown would give the Steelers a three-technique for that scheme. Like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh needs to improve its pass rush, and Brown could do that.
Green Bay could consider Brown as a replacement for B.J. Raji, and that would be a nice team for Brown, but the Packers would have to trade up significantly to get him. That just doesn't fit with Ted Thompson's stance in the first round.