Deonte Brown
Jan 1, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive lineman Deonte Brown (65) in action during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

After spending a few hours studying Deonte Brown film, I’ve compiled a short list of things his playstyle and physique reminded me of as I watched him stomp about the interior of Alabama’s dominant offensive line: 

  • The big boat that was stuck in the Suez Canal (large, very difficult to get around)
  • An industrial-sized boiling pot (large, profoundly difficult to knock backward)
  • The giant bowling ball the Dude gets stuck in during the first dream sequence in The Big Lebowski (large, unstoppable forward momentum)
  • Thiccness personified 

Yes, these are the only types of comps I’m interested in making during the pre-draft process.

Deonte Brown is an absolute unit amongst absolute units. He weighed over 360lbs during his final season in Tuscaloosa and he put his imposing frame to good use. While some observers might be skeptical that a guard as big as Brown can succeed against the athletic specimens you find on NFL defensive lines, Brown possesses a rare combination of football IQ and functional strength. While he certainly has room for improvement, I believe that Deonte Brown has the potential to be a solid starter at the next level.

Games Watched: Kentucky (2020), Arkansas (2020), Auburn (2020), Tennessee (2020), Georgia (2020), LSU (2019), Texas A&M (2019).

Rare Talents

Brown was a monster in the run game at Alabama. He has all the elite functional strength that you would like to see from a player his size. He consistently produced excellent vertical movement against SEC defensive tackles. Brown’s biggest strengths would be taken advantage of best in a DUO, gap or inside zone-based run blocking scheme. 

This rep against Tennessee is a good example of a typical run blocking rep from Brown. He maintains a wide base, stays low, gets his hands inside and drives his feet to create vertical movement. Brown is consistently quick out of his stance and he has one of the strongest punches in the draft. 

On this play against Arkansas, we get to see a great example of the sheer amount of destruction that Brown can create. While outside zone is not necessarily his best concept, Brown is able to launch the Razorbacks’ defensive end into the path of the linebacker, tripping him up, with just his initial punch.

Brown is even more of a beast when he’s got some forward momentum. Here when Brown is pulling on a gap RPO, Texas A&M’s 3-technique spins into his path to the second level and…whoo boy. While Brown can have some difficulty tracking defenders in space on pulls, Alabama did put a lot of trust into that area of his game. 

Deonte Brown’s ability to wreak havoc as the play side guard on gap-run plays is something that I think will translate well at the NFL level.

Here, Brown and Jedrick Wills are able to get a vertical push on the 3-technique with a combo block before Brown peels off and covers the short distance to the Mike linebacker. Brown’s overwhelming mass and brute strength make him pretty dominant on double teams and his wide frame helps him seal off linebackers.

Brown’s strength also helps him a lot as a pass blocker. Here, Brown picks up a blitzing linebacker on a screen pass and sends him on a good five-yard-flight with a two-hand punch. 

Here, Alabama’s offensive line is running a four-man slide to their right and Brown is able to quickly adjust his hips to the nose guard and put him on his face. Alabama’s five-man protection unit also just does a really good job of sorting out this blitz. Brown is a really intelligent player and he makes few mental mistakes.

Brown’s elite functional strength can also help him recover as a pass blocker. Here against Georgia, Brown’s first punch was able to halt the 4i’s forward momentum after he crossed his face, giving him enough time to recover and knock him down.

Bullrushes are also essentially useless against Deonte Brown, and he takes up so much space that he can be really difficult for pass rushers to get around. Brown also has tremendous balance and he moves well across short distances which helps him out a lot in both phases of the game. 

It’s important to mention that Brown has lost 20 pounds since the Senior Bowl, he weighed in at 344 lbs at Alabama’s pro day which is still gigantic for a guard. This demonstrated commitment to conditioning should be encouraging to GMs and Brown should look more mobile by the start of the 2021 NFL season.

Points of concern

Brown was clearly carrying a lot of unnecessary weight at Alabama. He looked slow-footed, and when he got beat in pass protection it was usually because of athletic shortcomings rather than inferior technique or mental lapses. 

On this rep, Brown just isn’t quick enough to pick up this stunt even though he recognizes what’s happening.

Here against Auburn, Brown once again doesn’t move his feet or open his hips well enough to stay in front of the blitzing linebacker. 

Brown would have a hard time in an outside zone-based running scheme and I have doubts about his ability to be consistently effective while pulling on gap run plays at the next level because he’s struggled blocking on the second level in instances where linebackers and safeties have the room to juke him. I also don’t have much hope for him as a downfield blocker on screen passes. I do think his athletic limitations will prevent Deonte Brown from ever becoming a pro bowl level player.

It’s also worth mentioning that Brown always started alongside other extremely intelligent, extremely talented lineman in Tuscaloosa. While this was likely beneficial to Brown’s development, it may be an adjustment for Brown to no longer be playing in between players as dominant as Landon Dickinson, Alex Leatherwood and Jedrick Wills.

Potential landing spot: New York Jets, Third Round 87th overall

As it stands, Mekhi Becton is the only offensive lineman who the Jets are confident will be a part of their future plans. Investing a mid-round pick into Brown would make a lot of sense for New York. Deonte Brown has the potential to be a quality starter for a long time in the NFL, and the New York Jets are in desperate need of quality starters.

Brown has starting experience at both guard spots, but I would like to see the Jets line him up at left guard next to Becton. That would be an unreal amount of mass and functional strength on one side of the offensive line. We don’t know exactly what the 2021 Jets offense will look like, but we do know that the 49ers ran a ton of gap-counter while New York’s new offensive coordinator Mike LeFleur served as passing game coordinator in San Francisco. Gap-counter with Brown and Becton play side would be a very productive concept for the Jets. 

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