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2018 NFL Combine: Why Orlando Brown’s performance wasn’t a complete disaster

The mammoth offensive tackle posted some historically bad numbers in Indianapolis, but could he be an exception?

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the secret is out: Orlando Brown had one of the worst combine performances in the history of the event.

Now that we’ve had a few days to digest this information and people have gotten their jokes out of their system, let’s take a look at the biggest offensive tackle in this draft class.

Let’s take a look at Orlando Brown’s mockdraftable web:

As you can see, almost the only areas of the web that Brown is notable in are the size based metrics, and oddly enough an average 3 Cone drill. While the other drills were miserable — Bench Press, 40 yard dash, Broad Jump, etc. — Brown may be the least test dependent prospect in this year’s draft class.

One of the last prospects to come into the NFL at Brown’s impressive size is Trenton Brown, who is now the starting right tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, and has been lauded by Von Miller among others as being one of the best right tackles in football. Trent Brown played right guard at Florida at 6’7” and 355 lbs and was rotated in and out of the game frequently. Trent Brown was a junior college transfer who didn’t have a fraction of the success in college that Orlando Brown had. He was a 7th round pick of the 49ers, and now has a starting spot.

Let’s take a look at what Orlando Brown’s web looks like next to Trent Brown’s web as an offensive lineman (unable to list as a tackle, Brown was classified as a guard coming out of Florida):

While Trent Brown tested better athletically than Orlando Brown, it’s not a stretch to see how they could be comparable.

Before I get into film stuff, I’d like to spell out a bit of Brown’s story and why I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t test super well.

For those unfamiliar, Orlando Brown is the son of a former NFL offensive lineman, the late Orlando Brown Sr. He started playing football in high school and was over 400 lbs when he got to Oklahoma. He has been losing weight since he arrived in Norman, and before this past season started, he’d made a comment that he was down to around 340 pounds, which was the lightest he had been SINCE SEVENTH GRADE. So when it was announced that he only had 14 reps on the bench press, I wasn’t surprised.

He’s pretty clearly still developing physically in his upper body, and you could see it when he was running his 40. He has a lot of loose skin left, and it’s my thought that his best football and his best physical appearance are ahead of him. Brown will turn 22 a week or so after the draft. He’s going to get significantly stronger in the upper body as he gets into an NFL Strength and Conditioning program.

Now, I’ve gone back and ground the tape into the absolute finest dust before snorting it and writing this article for y’all.

Let’s start with the bench press. 14 reps isn’t good, true. So people assume he’s probably weak, right? The results have come back, and that is a lie.

While Brown may have had a low bench total, he certainly isn’t weak. On this play, the end crosses Brown’s face taking away the B gap, and instead Brown just washes him into the opposite A gap creating a big crease in the run game. Brown has a way to go concerning upper body strength, but he’s a strong football player, and when he gets his hands on you, you’re usually done for.

Here’s another thing that Brown can do successfully at the next level:

Brown climbs to the second level on this play, and does a nice job sustaining his block on potential first round pick Malik Jefferson from Texas. Brown had an average 3 Cone time, one of the few areas he tested well. He also does a nice job of continuing to work his hands after initial contact in order to keep his hands inside and torque Jefferson away from the ballcarrier.

Brown’s best asset in pass protection, right in front of his light feet for such a big man, is his sheer size. I remember a few years ago in a draft guide magazine, an offensive lineman who plays in Canada now had a “pro” listed in his report as: “He’s a 25 dollar cab ride to get around.” That’s immediately what I thought of the first time when I watched Orlando Brown’s tape.

However, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out some areas of concern that Brown’s lack of testing could lead to.

Here’s Brown against future Top 5 draft pick in 2019 Nick Bosa. Brown is always going to struggle with speed rushers at his size. It’s important that he doesn’t over set when facing these rushers and not giving up the inside. You can live with your tackle getting beat around the outside, but getting beat inside is the ultimate sin for any offensive lineman. Jonathan Ogden always struggled with Dwight Freeney, so this isn’t unheard of; big tackles struggling with speed, but it’s something that could worry you.

The only issue I can foresee with Brown in the run game will be against bigger defensive ends who come with some power at Brown, which he didn’t see much in the Big 12. Brown was pretty effective in the run game at Oklahoma, though their scheme was a large part of that.

Ultimately, this is my issue with the entire situation. Brown was impressive in 2017, and while the first round conversation may have been a result of a second straight weak tackle class, Brown was no different at the Combine getting torn apart by scouts, than he was all season when scouts were salivating about his size during Oklahoma’s Playoff run.

I likened Orlando to Trent Brown earlier in this article due to their size, but if I had to liken his style to someone in the NFL, it’d probably be to someone like Rpb Havenstein, a large bodied tackle who is a body catcher who is functionally effective in the run game, and effective as a pass protector due to his size. I expect Brown’s offensive coordinator to give him some help with chips from backs and line up tight ends to the same side as Brown, a la what Tennessee does with Jack Conklin, in order to help Brown with spacing in pass pro.

I wish nothing but the best for Brown in the NFL. It’s a nice story that he’s trying to make his late father proud, and it’s not his fault that he’s just not a great athlete at mammoth size. I don’t think he’ll be a target for the Packers, who are pretty stringent with their athletic metrics, though Brown does have the blindside tackle experience they covet.

While the Combine has turned into the Underwear Olympics and it is a phenomenal chance to boost your stock with a great performance, don’t always assume that a poor performance means you’re not a good football player, or that you suddenly got worse overnight.