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Who the hell will they draft 2008: Mississippi State DE Titus Brown

He came. He saw. He sacked the sh*t out of the QB.
Continuing our search for college prospects that the Colts could potentially draft in late April, we turn our attention back to the position of greatest need: Pass rushers. We already covered DT Trevor Laws (projected 2nd round) and DE Marcus Howard (projected 3rd or 4th round). Now, we get to talk about Titus Brown, a guy out of Mississippi State who fits the Cover 2 pass rusher mold very well.

First and foremost, his name is Titus. TITUS! Like some great Roman general marching forth to dominate and conquer. If drafted by Indy, a note over his locker could read: "I came. I saw. I sacked his ass." But despite the titanic name, Titus Brown is not titanic in stature. He stands 6'2 and weighs anywhere from 238-245 pounds. This puts him smack dab in the Robert Mathis mold, and if Titus becomes as good as Mathis, he can afford to party with Stampede Blue readers in Broadripple. I repeat once again that height and weight are two of the most over-rated "stats" when judging a prospect. Former Titans GM Floyd Reese, the man responsible for placing the Titans in cap hell for many years, had this to say about Bill Polian a few weeks ago:

Polian might be my personal favorite because he is so unorthodox. He is experienced and smart, and has an outstanding eye for talent. Many of the boundaries that limit other decision makers don't seem to affect Polian. I once introduced Polian to my son as the best GM in the NFL because "he never drafts anyone over 6-foot tall, but they all make the Pro Bowl." It's a humorous but partially true look at Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, Robert Mathis and many more of Polian's undersized players who end up superstars.
The humor from this is it seems Reese over-valued height when he made decisions on players. It might explain why he drafted such "winners" as Justin McCareins and Tank Williams. It also might explain why Reese no longer works in the NFL, and Bill Polian is on his way to Canton when he retires. I remember Mike Dikta talking about Chicago's linebackers in 2006 and how their size gave them an advantage over the Colts. Remind me what the score of the Super Bowl was that year?

Again, height is OVER-RATED.

Because of this, a guy like Titus Brown could have a chance to catch on with a team like Indy as a pass rushing DE and a special teams player rather than as an outside LBer in a 3-4 scheme. Titus struggled playing outside LBer in the Senior Bowl, and had some issues playing down on the line. His strengths are his work ethic, motor, and impressive pass rushing skills:

Excellent athleticism...Good speed and quickness...Has a burst to close...A natural pass rusher...Hard worker with a good motor...Understands how to use his hands to shed blockers...Versatile with experience at multiple positions..Has played a lot of ball against top competition..Productive and made a lot of plays behind the line.
The part in bold is the one that caught my attention. Players with this knack of getting into the backfield and causing havoc are the kinds of players Dungy loves to incorporate into his system. Brown's ability to shed blocks and move to the ball are something sorely lacking in last year's DE back-ups. While guys like Josh Thomas were usually pretty good against the run, they just didn't have the ability to get to the QB. A player like Brown is sorely needed.

It's interesting that Brown will likely fall into the 5th or 6th round of the draft, because he seems to have all the intangibles and experience NFL teams look for in a prospect. He might have some off-the-field issues stemming from a bar fight in 2005, but what is not in doubt is his work ethic and commitment to getting better. What really seems to drop his draft stock is his height and weight, which is funny because (once again) height and weight are over-rated.

Even if the Colts take a player like Laws or Howard in the earlier rounds, if Titus Brown is there in the 5th or 6th round, the Colts will likely pick him. He's got Cover 2 pass rusher written all over him, and his speed and burst could add a lot to the special teams as well.