The Minnesota Vikings find themselves in need of a middle linebacker, with Jasper Brinkley signing with the Arizona Cardinals and rumors of interest in Brian Urlacher looking unlikely to have any substance. Head coach Leslie Frazier has already suggested the team is likely to turn to the draft for Brinkley’s replacement. There is an in-house candidate in 2012 draft pick Audie Cole, but adding a rookie to the mix looks likely.
Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown had back-to-back seasons with 100 or more tackles for the Wildcats after transferring from Miami, but a shoulder injury that caused him to miss the Senior Bowl and held him out of drills at the NFL Combine had his draft stock falling. Now his stock is back on the rise on the heels of an excellent performance at Kansas State’s Pro Day, where he reportedly looked healthy and had an excellent all-around showing.
Let’s take a closer look at Brown, and then see if he may be a fit for the Vikings.
Weight: 236 lbs.
– Has excellent instincts; recognizes keys and diagnoses well
– Is agile and athletic; is a natural bender
– Uses his hands well to slip blocks
– Plays with excellent leverage, physicality and balance
– Demonstrates excellent athleticism and awareness in coverage
– Shows good sideline-to-sideline speed
– Lacks ideal height and bulk
– Physical style creates long-term durability concerns
– Is not a great playmaker in terms of forcing turnovers
– Is not overly fast for an undersized linebacker
– Is not an explosive hitter
Brown is listed as an outside linebacker in pre-draft rankings, but he played middle linebacker at Kansas State and his skill set should translate to that position at the next level. He is now being mentioned as a potential late first-round pick, perhaps putting aside the stigma of being undersized and being drafted later than he should based on talent and game tape. The Vikings have two picks in that range (23rd and 25th overall), and if they don’t like Brown as a middle linebacker prospect he could still be on their radar as potential competition for Erin Henderson at weakside linebacker.
NFL Comparisons: London Fletcher/Curtis Lofton
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.