Orlando Brown Jr.
University of Oklahoma
Looking to follow in the footsteps of his father Orlando Brown Sr., whose NFL career as an offensive tackle spanned over the course of a decade, Orlando Brown Jr. enters the 2018 NFL Draft as a projected top-three offensive tackle according to ESPN.com
Coming out of Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, GA., Brown was courted by several marquee colleges as a three-star recruit. According to Soonersports.com, Brown held offers from Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
Despite interest from the aforementioned schools, in 2014 Brown enrolled at the University of Oklahoma where he elected to redshirt his freshman season. Over the course of the next three years, Brown would start a total of 39 games at left tackle for the Sooners, earning a pair of Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year awards in 2016 and 2017.
On top of receiving awards within the Big 12, Brown was also named a unanimous First-Team All-American in 2017. The selection makes Brown 13th offensive tackle from Oklahoma to receive the honors and the second to do so unanimously.
Touted as one of the nation’s best pass blockers, Brown boasted a 98.3 pass-blocker rating from ProFootballFocus.com (PFF), where he ranked ninth among all “FBS draft-eligible” offensive tackles according to the site.
Due to his towering stature and lateral quickness, Brown was utilized as a key component to sustaining a pocket for his quarterback. Brown was so good at pass-blocking, in fact, that according to PFF only one of Brown’s 409 pass-blocking snaps in 2017 directly resulted in a sack. That means a staggering 99.7 percent of his pass blocks were successfully executed.
The one issue that Brown has when trying to keep would-be pass rushers out of the backfield is keeping up with speedy edge-rushers. While Brown has a knack for keeping traditional defensive ends and tackles at bay, smaller and faster outside linebackers give him trouble as they have the potential to beat him on the edge.
Brown may be a monster at pass-blocking but he’s no slouch in the run game either. In helping Oklahoma runners rack up a total of 3,074 yards in 2017, Brown earned a 95.4 run-blocker rating from PFF to rank highest among all FBS draft-eligible offensive linemen.
Being that Oklahoma liked to run the ball between the tackles quite a bit, Brown was given plenty of opportunities to show just how dominant he can be in the trenches. In the power running scheme that the Sooners employ, Brown was able to open up holes for backs at will. He has also done this while avoiding holding penalties for the majority of the year, something that plagued Brown early in his career at Oklahoma. In fact, Brown was one of the least-penalized offensive linemen in 2017 according to 247sports.com.
On tape you’ll likely find Brown moving over defensive tackles and linebackers when getting up field to make blocks. When asked to pull, Brown does much of the same as he sees more pancakes than a chef at IHOP. Brown has been clocked at an unofficial time of 5.45 seconds for the 40-yard dash which, for a 6-foot-8 giant, isn’t too bad. This moderate speed coupled with his instinctual run-blocking ability make him a tough block to shed at any level.
Potential Position Change
It has been speculated that once Brown joins an NFL team that he will be converted to right tackle. Even though he has shown great poise and ability on the left side of the line while protecting Baker Mayfield’s blind side, many NFL scouts are concerned that he is a bit too tall to perform at left tackle. That, along with his trouble at times keeping up with quick edge rushers as mentioned before may be cause for concern if teams are looking to have Brown protect the most expensive piece to an NFL roster.
According to several mock draft boards, Brown is expected to be a mid-first-round draft pick in 2018. Ranked in the top-three among offensive tackles entering this year’s draft, Brown should be off of the board relatively quickly.
As far as San Francisco is concerned, Brown likely won’t be on their wish list as his draft stock doesn’t place him anywhere above the 12th pick on any current mock drafts. Where the 49ers sit at with the ninth or 10th pick (pending a coin flip with Oakland) does not warrant selecting Brown.
On top of that, current 49ers left tackle Joe Staley seems to have no plans retiring any time soon according to his Twitter page. “I feel like I still have the best football of my career with this staff and team. Excited to get the next season started!!” said Staley via a tweet posted early on January 10, 2018.
Based on that, as well as right tackle Trent Brown’s performance last season, the 49ers should be at least competent at both tackle positions next year. The real issues on their offensive line are at the guard spots, so acquiring a rookie tackle wouldn’t serve them all that well, even if he is a player of Orlando Brown Jr.’s caliber.