In revealing his wide receiver ranking for the 2021 NFL Draft this week, NBC Sports’ Chris Simms ran the shocking route by placing UNC’s Dyami Brown in the number three spot. Simms went as far to say that there wasn’t even a big difference between anyone in his top three, the other two being J’Marr Chase and Devonta Smith, both of whom are regularly projected for the top-15.
Brown has been projected as a mid-to-late day two prospect, with ProFootballNetwork saying he could fall into round four. Simms sounds adamant that Brown is also a top-15 prospect.
Video is queued up to the Dyami Brown discussion that begins at 36:30:
In essence, Simms says that Dyami Brown has elite speed, comparing it to Odell Beckham in terms of when the ball is in the air, “through the roof route running, in all aspects,” special acceleration, incredible stop-start ability, “snatches the ball out of the air” and he has the ability to take slant routes “70 yards.”
“Play one looked like superstar,” said Simms, referencing the very first play by Brown that he watched.
Dyami Brown is 6’, 195 lbs, and North Carolina is set to have their pro day next Tuesday, the 30th. That’s when we may get a better idea of Brown’s speed and a great time might elevate him out of LA’s range at pick 57.
Chad Reuter of NFL.com wrote this of Brown’s UNC career:
Dyami (pronounced dee-AH-mee) Brown made an impact for the Tar Heels as a true freshman, starting six of 10 contests played (17 receptions, 173 yards, 10.2 average, one touchdown) after enrolling a semester early as a four-star recruit and all-state receiver at Charlotte’s West Mecklenburg High School. His game stepped up another level with Sam Howell playing quarterback at UNC in 2019, as he garnered third-team All-ACC honors by ranking ninth in the country with 20.3 yards per reception (51 receptions, 1,034 yards) and tying the school record with 12 receiving touchdowns in 13 starts. Brown was dynamic in 2020, as well, earning third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-ACC status by leading Carolina in receiving (55 receptions, 1,099 yards, 20.0 average, eight touchdowns) in 11 starts.
Then again it might not matter what Brown does as his pro day because obviously Chris Simms is rather alone — at least among the mainstream media — in his belief that Dyami Brown is a first round talent.
NFL.com’s Lance Zeirlein had this to say about Brown:
Feast or famine deep-ball specialist with build-up speed that surprises cornerbacks who are tardy to open and run with him. Brown is a little thin, but has good length and excellent ball-tracking talent with the ability to follow the flight over his shoulder and bring it in for the score. He’s a willing combatant when his quarterback allows him jump-ball opportunities. However, his lack of short-space foot quickness and agility allows coverage to hitch rides on his short and intermediate routes, which could limit his overall effectiveness as a pro. More importantly, he simply doesn’t display trustworthy hands, which could cause quarterbacks and coordinators to lose faith if it’s not corrected. Brown’s talent to extend the defense has value, but he could have a limited ceiling as a scheme-dependent outside target.
Zeirlein’s comp for Brown is Paul Richardson. An interesting weapon at times but even if it weren’t for injuries, Richardson didn’t seem like he was going to develop into a high-end starter.
But it’s also not hard to find that there are other people who believe that the world is sleeping on Dyami Brown.
Bluechipscouting.com said this of Brown prior to his final season in college and this pre-2020 season evaluation is looking quite prescient:
Dyami Brown is a true junior former 4-star recruit from the Charlotte, NC area. As a freshman, he played sparingly across five games and couldn’t even crack 200 receiving yards. Things were much different for Brown in 2019, thanks in part to the emergence of Sam Howell (2022 QB1 - you heard it here first), but this kid deserves some credit as well. He was able to compile 1,034 yards on only 51 (!!!) catches. His 20.3 YPR ranked #1st in the ACC and tied for 6th across all of the Power 5 conferences. His consistency was maybe even more impressive. In terms of statistical impact, his worst game from 2019 was that six overtime loss to Virginia Tech (ironically), and he got 52 yards in that matchup. That goes to show how reliable he was throughout the season for the Tar Heels.
Pulling up the footage of Brown, you can see how green he still is. His route tree isn’t overly refined yet, and he still needs to put more weight onto his spindly frame. Everything else though, whoa nelly. His release off of the line of scrimmage is fluid and effortless, and his speed and his stop-and-go are some of his best traits. Watch how minute this stutter is against recent Atlanta Falcons first-round reach - I mean, pick - A.J. Terrell and how bad the latter bites on it as Brown gets the easy touchdown:
Don’t think he’s just a straight-line burner either. In this play against Virginia, he catches a simple slant route but shows off his ability to shed tacklers and contact balance:
With another year to build chemistry with Howell and the rest of the UNC offense, it would not be surprising to see Brown improve upon his stellar 2019 campaign. He is in my opinion the best weapon on that offense and I am stunned by the lack of notoriety that he receives. I will say, I have a good feeling that is going to change a lot by the time draft season really gets going.
Should the Rams make sure that Dyami Brown doesn’t slip into round three? Will they even get the chance?
Update, 3/24: I want to remain fair and balanced, so I am adding this video of Dyami Brown dropping some contested catches. Some examples seem a little unfair, but there are a lot more drops than what some charting sites may tell you.