Career Recap: Over his freshman and sophomore seasons, Brown amassed a grand total of 10 tackles and a one sack. He then earned a starting spot for 2016, however, and went on to break out with six sacks, 13 tackles for a loss and 38 tackles. The junior also was impressive in games against ranked opponents with NFL quarterback prospects in North Carolina - Mitch Trubisky - and Louisville - Lamar Jackson. Brown underwent offseason shoulder surgery, but is said to be fully recovered heading into fall camp for the 2017 season.
2017 Season Outlook: Brown will see some quality teams as a senior, but he doesn't have any of the top offensive tackle prospects for the NFL on his schedule. The toughest challenge for Brown could come in mid-November when he takes on Louisville, which has a mobile quarterback in Lamar Jackson and a pro prospect in offensive tackle Geron Christian.
Skill-Set Summary: Every year in the NFL Draft, there are plenty of teams that are targeting help on the defensive line in the early rounds. Thus, a player with Brown's physical make-up and skill set is going to be in demand in his draft class. He is a strong, sturdy lineman who has quickness at the point of attack. Brown also has versatile size that fits a variety of schemes and can play a variety of techniques. A number of teams are likely to interested in adding him next April.
Brown is an explosive defender off the snap. He has a fantastic first-step with a great get-off for such a big defensive lineman. That makes him a problem as a pass-rusher as he is very adept at firing by blockers to get penetration in the backfield. Brown has disruptive speed at the point of attack that will cause havoc in the ground game or the the pass rush. He has active hands that he uses at the same time as his feet, which allows him to be a dangerous closer who can finish plays. Brown has decent awareness too, so he can adjust to running backs or the quarterback in order to help get ball-carriers on the ground. Brown is a big-time problem as a pass-rusher going against guards.
Brown wants to work upfield because he is at his best playing behind the line of scrimmage. However for the NFL, he is going to need to improve at holding his ground in the ground game as he won't be able to just work upfield on every snap. He could stand to continue to improve his pass-rushing moves as well. Brown has a lot of talent and a rare skill set, so if he focuses on football, the sky is the limit for him.
Some team sources say they have some concerns about motivational issues with Brown. They think he has excellent athletic traits, but also have compared him to Ole Miss' Robert Nkemdiche in terms of motivational concerns and the skill set being potentially more tantalizing than the consistency of his play on the field. They wonder why Brown rode the bench for two years on a bad football team behind non-NFL prospects after being one of the top recruits in the nation when he signed with Virginia. Brown is known to be a talented musician and musical producer - see in the video below. While team sources respect and admire Brown's artistic talent, they wonder how committed he will be to being the best he can possibly be in the NFL and not using his NFL paycheck to help be a spring board to his other future career. Thus, Brown has a lot to prove as a senior to show that he can string two seasons together, while playing well on a consistent basis, and also answer the concerns about his motivation and dedication to the game.
Brown has played inside at defensive tackle lot of for Virginia, and some team sources think that he is at his best when he is playing as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3. For the NFL, however, he might fit more as a left base end given his weight. If does play end in a 4-3, on run downs he could move inside in passing situations. Some teams might think Brown could gain some weight to be a fill-time defensive tackle. He also would fit as a five-technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
2018 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering this season, scouting sources say that Brown has early-round potential with a first-round skill set.