CFF Player Profile: Malcom Brown, DI
Malcom Brown has a unique skill set for not just any player in this years draft, but also in the NFL. It’s so unique in fact that finding a current player who has set that is similar is near impossible. This is why opinions on Brown have varied drastically.
Overview & Stats
Malcom Brown was one of the top players on Texas defense where he was a handful in the run game and an above average pass rusher, and, as one would expect for a penetrating run threat, he ended up with the top of the class in Run Stop Percentage. That said, stats don’t always paint the whole picture and this is certainly one of those cases.
When rushing the passer Brown recorded 33 total pressures to match Grady Jarrett’s total, but it took Brown 116 more pass rush snaps to get there. His 6.8 Pass Rushing Productivity mark came in 25th for draft-eligible interior defensive lineman (NT/DT/3-4DE).
As with everything we do at PFF/CFF, the stats can only tell part of the story, and while Brown graded out as one of the top interior players there are some issues to his game that could cause him problems at the next level.
The strengths of his play are clear and evident when watching him — he has very quick and strong hands that allow him to shed blocks even when he is in a losing position — and when Brown got it right, he was one of the most disruptive forces against the run last season. With no intention of trying to hold up blocks, it’s all attack to beat the blocker for Brown, something he did on a consistent basis.
Because he is so often looking to shed at the snap, he becomes a liability on down blocks where he isn’t able to use his hands or stand up blockers and regularly winds up forced into positions he doesn’t want to be in. At his best when he can see the offensive lineman coming towards him, Brown can whip his hands out of the way and cause his opponent to lunge and miss. In the pros he will be a player who either wins early or loses quickly, being forced backward at a rapid rate putting his linebackers in a tough spot to scrape over the top to make a play.
With the ability to beat blocks in the run game, you would expect more production from him rushing the passer, but with lineman not coming toward him he struggles to use his hand ability in the same way since he does not have the explosion to couple with it. If Brown doesn’t win with his hands, he does not have a quick enough step off the ball to get to the outside on a consistent basis, nor does he have a second move that cause offensive lineman any stress.
The way he looks to shed every block can be appealing, but he becomes completely neutralized if he is prevented from doing so. When Brown is double-teamed he tends to be put on skates very quickly and even with one-on-one blocks he has a tendency to go backward once a lineman gets his hands on him. In the NFL it will be interesting to see if Brown can consistently win with his tendencies as they are or if losing to blockers early in the encounter becomes his baseline.
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