A.J. Brown should lead all Tennessee Titans rookies in snap, he will be that important.
Tennessee Titans rookie A.J. Brown was one of my favorite wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft.
His fall to the second round (51st overall) is indicative of the amount of talent in this rookie class, not a knock on his ability or production.
Brown is physically imposing, which isn’t something you usually hear about a 6’0 receiver. However, at 225lb and with arms measuring just under 33 inches, Brown is a solid target with a large catch radius.
After leading the Ole Miss Rebels in receiving production for two seasons, Brown entered the pro football draft process as one of the top collegiate receivers. He performed brilliantly at the combine, running a 4.49 second 40-yard dash and putting up 19 reps at the bench press.
With his extensive experience as a slot receiver in college, along with his size and strength, Brown is projected to be able to line up anywhere on the field for the Tennessee Titans. No matter where he lines up, Brown should be able to contribute from day one.
"“In-breaking patterns have a nice snap, will separate clean against off coverage. Most effective routes work in the short/intermediate areas, where strength can shine to get off of contact. Hook routes, speed outs, whip routes, slants and shallow posts are winning routes.”"
Crafty route running is something that has to be coached and worked on. Nobody is a natural route runner. The same drive that motivates Brown to work on the nuances of route running will presumably also drive him to work on how to use his physical gifts to beat the jam.
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A.J. Brown predominately lived in the slot off the line of scrimmage during his time at Oxford, Mississippi, which allowed him to have free releases to get into his routes.
Against less imposing opponents, Brown dominated between the hashes in the SEC. He eclipsed 1,250 receiving yards twice in his three-year collegiate career and was twice named First Team All-SEC. Both of those things are big for Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson who values production.
Playing along side D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge certainly helped Brown in gaining favorable matchups. However, against ranked teams such as Alabama, LSU, and Mississippi State in the 2018 season, Brown was quietly ineffective – failing to impact the game or put points on the board.
One explanation for his lack of production against ranked opponents last season could be that Ole Miss just wasn’t a very good team. They finished the season with the record of 5-7 and just 1-7 in conference games. Their defense had a hard time stopping opposing offenses and the quarterback play wasn’t remarkable. Better team and better coaching with the Tennessee Titans should allow for A.J. Brown to flourish against an array of opposition talents.
Brown has the physical abilities to be successful in the NFL. More than his speed, his quickness to cleanly break in and out of routes should allow his quarterback to find his number early and often as a chain-moving receiver.
As Brown continues to acclimate himself to the Tennessee Titans offense and grow within the system, the team will be evermore successful in converting third downs and extending drives.