The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Ole Miss wide receiver A.J. Brown will not be active this bowl season and has already declared for the draft.
Position: Wide receiver
2018 stats: 85 receptions, 1,320 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns
Size: 6-foot, 226 pounds
A.J. Brown has been near the top of the list of wide receiver prospects since the end of last season. He played in a pass-heavy attack at Ole Miss, but they were not eligible for a bowl game due to NCAA violations. Brown produced in the SEC against good defenses, which should help him make the jump to the NFL.
He has played for two different quarterbacks and succeeded. At Ole Miss, he had 189 receptions for 2,984 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns on an average of 15.8 yards per reception over three seasons. Brown really helped quarterback Jordan Ta’amu develop this season. While his production may not be as good in the pros with the offenses being less wide-open, Brown has shown the ability to be a solid receiver at the NFL. If he lands in a good situation in the NFL, Brown can live up to all of his pre-draft hype.
His athleticism and good production will allow Brown to be one of the first receivers off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft. This is particularly impressive, as the draft class for wide receivers is very deep. Brown will be targeted by teams in the first round of the draft.
Brown is a big, physical and athletic receiver, making him a matchup problem. He runs good routes, which helps him get open, especially because he recognizes coverages and makes adjustments accordingly. As a bigger receiver, Brown uses his strength to get open by being physical with corners at the snap and with subtle push-offs at the top of his routes. He has good hands and can even make contested catches with defenders hanging all over him. He is a possession receiver, who uses his body well to hold off defenders and make the play, which also makes him a good red-zone threat. Once the ball is in his hands, Brown is successful because he is hard to bring down due to his strength.
His physicality also helps him in the run game. He is hardly ever beaten when asked to run block. Brown’s size and strength allow him to hold blocks for several seconds on most run plays.
The most glaring weakness for Brown concerns his speed. He doesn’t have the best long speed or quickness, which could cause issues in the NFL. Brown could have trouble creating separation with his below average speed. He’ll need to run routes crisply and use his strength to his advantage.
Because he is such a physical receiver, he could get more penalties called against him in the pros. Brown often pushes off to get open, which wasn’t caught all the time at Ole Miss, but NFL officials will likely see that more.
His hands are usually good, but he did have a few focus drops at Ole Miss. These happen to everyone, so it isn’t a big deal, as it didn’t happen often for Brown.
Projected Draft Range: First round-second round