Throughout the pre-draft process, the draft's top three ILB prospects have remained largely the same with the exact order varying with different opinions. However, over the last week or two, I have heard a new name being mentioned among those ILBs with first round talent. Could it be that Kansas State ILB Arthur Brown's stock has risen enough to vault him into the first round of the draft and even surpass the likes of Manti Te'o, Kevin Minter, and Alec Ogletree?
Many would call Brown relatively small for an NFL linebacker, as was the case when the Ravens selected Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. On the field, however, his size seems to be a non-factor. He is an excellent tackler who seldom allows the ballcarrier to break free after initial contact and drives his feet through the tackle. Also, unlike Manti Te'o, Brown is very good at taking on and shedding blocks at the point of attack and uses his hands very well when engaging fullbacks and pulling guards. He is also very good in coverage, he possesses excellent vision and awareness to pick up crossing patterns and has the speed to cover running backs on flat and wheel routes. He has all the potential to be a three-down linebacker in the NFL, which can be a rare find in today's league with all of the numerous substitutions and personnel packages that defensive coordinators have up their sleeves. The only real weakness that is apparent in Brown's game is that he will occasionally fail to recognize where the hole is and will overrun the play. All in all, I think Brown could be a very solid option for the Ravens at the 32nd pick, or even in early the 2nd round if Ozzie feels as if he should trade some of his picks.