The NFL Scouting Combine has come and gone. Football fans have now gotten a taste of what the 2018 draft class can do. Players like Saquon Barkley, Shaquem Griffin and Josh Allen all made noise with their performances. The combine is a great way to see just how strong, fast and smart some of the top prospects are. But not all future talent performs at the NFL Combine.
Stars like James Harrison, Tyreek Hill and Malcolm Butler are some of the game’s most exciting players, but did not receive an NFL combine invite. Performing well at the combine can be helpful for improving a player’s draft stock, but it is definitely not necessary to make it to the NFL.
Former Central Connecticut State University safety Najae Brown is one of many players that weren’t invited to the combine, but that is not stopping him from working to make his dream a reality.
Brown had a great career at CCSU, collecting 175 tackles and six interceptions in his three seasons with the Blue Devils. In his senior season, he had 67 tackles and two interceptions.
Prior to CCSU, Brown played one year at Division II New Haven, where he was named Don Hansen Division II National Freshman of the Year. As a freshman at New Haven, Brown had 78 tackles, three interceptions and nine pass breakups.
Brown teamed up alongside fellow safety and NFL hopeful Jarrod Cann to make a great duo in the defensive backfield. Both of them have had the opportunity to train together and push each other to get better.
“That’s my brother right there,” Brown said. “We worked out in the summer and the spring. We both push each other to go hard. He’s a great teammate of mine.”
Brown said he has a lot of strengths that make him a complete football player.
“I am very coachable. I’m a technical player. I watch a lot of film. And I love the game, I love playing football,” Brown said. “I think I’m a complete football player. That’s what makes me stand out to anyone else.”
Brown believes he has room to improve as far as strength goes, which is something he has been working on in preparation for the NFL. Being the technical player that he is, he has also been working on things like his speed and footwork to stay sharp.
Brown also believes his versatility is something NFL teams can appreciate about him. He also has experience playing special teams. At CCSU, Brown averaged 26.8 yards per kick return and a 17.6 yards per punt return.
“I not only can play defense, I can play special teams too,” he said. “I can return punts, I can return kicks, or I can go down and tackle somebody if needed to. I’m very coachable like I said before.”
Najae Brown Scouting Report
Brown stands at 6-foot, 195 pounds, which is good enough to be a cover safety. He will need to add some play strength in order to be effective for the next level.
He plays well in zone and man-to-man coverage. While in deep zone coverage, Brown makes sure no one gets behind him and intercepts any deflections or overthrows. In man-to-man, he stays on his man’s hip, which allows him to intercept any underthrows, while also putting him in good position to make a play on the ball if it is thrown accurately.
The best part of his game as a safety is his coverage ability, but he is also willing to come up and help play against the run. Brown doesn’t hit the hardest, but has good form. He goes low to tackle the ball carrier, usually wrapping up the legs to bring them down.
A facet of his game that could help him in his quest to make a team is his return ability. Whether it is on an interception, kick or punt return, Brown is always a threat for a big return. His experience on special teams will be a quality that could get him noticed and help him make an NFL team.
Featured image from CCSU Athletics
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