The Pittsburgh Steelers have some serious decisions to make for the 2013 NFL season. Not the least of which is how to address the lack of depth and athleticism among the inside linebackers. Lawrence Timmons is finally starting to show the athleticism and playmaking that was expected of him when he was drafted. While fellow linebacker Larry Foote had a very good season he has more than maxed out his potential and Steelers fans can’t really expect a repeat performance.
Most believed that the Steelers plan was to use their third round pick linebacker Sean Spence out of the University of Miami. His speed and athletic ability was to be a welcome addition to the defense. However Spence suffered a gruesome knee injury in the preseason and his 2013 is in serious jeopardy. With no significant talent on the current roster and without the cap space to chase down a big free agent, the NFL draft could be their best bet. The player I am going to offer up today is a tremendous prospect from Kansas State University, linebacker Arthur Brown. If the Steelers could add Brown to their unit with his speed and versatility they would be instantly better on defense.
Height 6-0 Weight 240lbs
What I like-Brown has the ultimate equalizer. Speed. He is easily one of the fastest linebackers in the country. This paired up with exceptional instincts means that he is almost never out of position and is in on the majority of plays. He can work sideline to sideline and is very strong in coverage, picking up tight ends and wide receivers as they come across the middle of the field and running with them. Brown is also underrated in terms of his physical play and does a nice job working through traffic and sticking his nose into the run game.
What I don’t like-I primarily don’t like the fact that the Steelers would likely have to spend a first round pick on Brown if they want to draft him. Most of the criticisms I have heard on Brown are really unfounded. I’ve heard that he doesn’t do well enough when he engages with offensive linemen, choosing to avoid contact. The truth is he’s able to weave through traffic, as any smart player 70lbs lighter than his opposition would. I have also read that he’s a poor tackler, which prompted me to go back to some K-State games and I honestly have no idea where that comes from. If Brown were 6-4 no one would be so concerned about all these things. He does lack ideal height with will create some matchup problems in coverage, especially against tight ends. He could be scheme limited to inside in the 3-4 of perhaps as a WILL linebacker in a 4-3.
Who he reminds me of-There are a couple of players that Brown reminds me of. First is current Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson. Johnson plays with that same type of suddenness that Brown does. Fast to the football, tries to avoid contact and finishes with authority. He also reminds me a lot of Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David. Both very fast and compact athletes who can run and cover and are tackling machines.