Heading into this years draft, one of the St. Louis Rams' biggest needs is at linebacker. Jo-Lonn Dunbar has surprised and has become a play-maker. Franchise middle linebacker James Laurinaitis is also solid and isn't going anywhere, anytime soon. But the Rams are missing something at linebacker...
The Rams are missing a player with athleticism; a player that can cover receivers, and move sideline-to-sideline. Enter Arthur Brown, the former Kansas State middle linebacker, and he should be available with the Rams 16th overall selection. He could end up being a good linebacker at the next level.
Brown might be smaller than the NFL's prototype linebacker, but he makes plays. He plays bigger than some linebackers who have the height and weight advantage on him. So should the Rams be interested? Let's take a look:
At his pro day
40 time: 4.58- 4.62
Good sideline to sideline speed
Takes on blocks
Good football IQ
Makes the catches he should
Good in man coverage
Good use of hands in shedding blocks
Good angles and pursuit
Good at attacking blocks
Good at wrapping up
Swims through traffic
Gained weight after season
Can become enveloped by the blockers
He doesn't force enough players back, they will get extra yards
Needs a good D-line to allow him more freedom
Zone coverage needs work
If he reads it wrong, he is easily taken out the play
Inexperience rushing the passer
Might be a better 3-4 MLB
Brown is talented, as well as system versatile. He should be able to play in a 4-3 defense or a 3-4 defense without a problem. He beat blocks pretty well in college, so it should translate into the pros. But if he has a solid defensive line, he will be able to run sideline-to-sideline, shedding blocks in the second level, and making plays. He would either be a 4-3 linebacker - probably a "Will" linebacker - but he could play every down in the pros. In a 3-4 defense, he would be a middle linebacker.
Should the Rams draft him?
Maybe. It depends on how much the Rams value outside linebackers. He would help in coverage and put more speed and athleticism on the field. The Rams might even start using all 3 linebackers more together, since they really didn't have a starting caliber 3rd linebacker last year. Brown will most likely go in the first round, and if the Rams really want him they might have to draft him at #16, if not #22.
Decide for yourself