Now that Free Agency is upon us, we get a little clearer picture of what the Colts still need to improve, and where they've gotten better. One position that could use an upgrade is at Inside LB, and a guy at the top end of the draft that could give them an influx of talent and athleticism is Arthur Brown of Kansas State.
Brown started his collegiate career at Miami, FL, but barely got on the field in two seasons, totaling only 17 tackles in 23 games without a start. Being originally from Kansas, Brown decided to come play closer to home, and go to a school that was a much better fit for him, and it certainly showed on the football field. In his two seasons in Manhattan he was a beast with 201 tackles, 16.5 for a loss, three sacks and three interceptions, one he returned for a TD last season. Brown was named to the All-Big 12 First team in both seasons, was the Defensive Newcomer of the Year in 2011, and the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.
One of the few knocks on Brown is that he's a little small as far as NFL Linebackers go, which usually means these guys drop, but his production is clearly off the charts that it shouldn't matter. This from Rob Rang of CBS Sports:
It is seemingly an annual rite of passage. Every year there is an ultra-productive linebacker who, if only an inch or two taller, would warrant top 15 consideration. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the fortunate recipient a year ago when they landed former Nebraska star Lavonte David in the second round. He went on to record 139 tackles as a rookie, tied for the eighth best in the NFL.
While it may be a tad high for the Colts to take Brown at #24, it's not a big stretch if a lot of other guys on the Colts radar get picked before their choice, they'd look at a guy like Brown to solidify one of the LB spots. While it isn't a huge difference between playing MLB in a 4-3 to a 3-4 ILB, Brown seems to be a guy that could easily make the transition. His brother Bryce made a big splash in Philadelphia last year as a rookie, and I have a feeling Arthur is going to do the same thing. Might as well be with the Colts.
Instinctive player who usually finds the football and plays bigger than his height indicates. Strong, secure tackler who wraps and rarely misses, even against larger ballcarriers. Has the lower body power to stop backs’ momentum when head-up and brings power into his stops when attacking ballcarriers in space. Uses hands very well. Keeps feet moving through contact. Moves towards the play side even if formation is used as misdirection. Attacks fullbacks in the hole, and does not shy from contact with linemen in the box.
Will be considered undersized for the inside linebacker position and doesn't have much room to grow into. Maturity questions were raised after transfer from Miami.
Strengths: Instinctive, physical defender who, other than his lack of ideal size, ranks among the surest prospects of the 2013 draft. Possesses excellent key and diagnosis skills. Often takes his initial step toward where the play is designed to go before the quarterback has finished taking the snap. Possesses explosive, active hands to quickly slip blocks and plays with excellent leverage, bending at the knees to consistently get under the pads of would-be blockers and pushing them aside to make the play in the hole.
Weaknesses: Obvious size concerns, though he plays much bigger than he looks. Tendency to take on blocks with alternating shoulders, putting him in excellent position to slip off and make tackles but also could be jeopardizing the long-term health of his body, especially considering his relative lack of size in the first place.
COMPARES TO: Curtis Lofton, ILB, New Orleans Saints -- Like Lofton, Brown plays bigger than he looks and will quickly prove himself to be a vacuum tackler in the NFL. To emerge as one of the elite at their position, however, each has to show a greater ability to cause turnovers.
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