Writing scouting reports in your spare time and on your lunch hour (excuse me while I shed this veneer of professionalism) can be fun. However, it maybe doesn’t encourage you to drill down into exactly everything you need to be aware of about a prospect. So you get a bit blindsided sometimes. So it was with Oklahoma’s Orlando Brown Jr.
My scouting report went up a couple of days before the combine, with a second-round grade. Before we go any further, I did quite like Brown’s tape. He didn’t look a speedy guy, but he was strong and effective at just about getting the job done. I had concerns about him going up against better athletes in the NFL, but he had decent handwork and with a head of steam up was a force of nature.
Then, the NFL Combine happened. I wrote last year about what happened to those setting combine-record times for speed. And it was interesting to see the disparate careers. But I’ve never looked at the slowest end of that. And that’s now Orlando Brown Jr. Thing is, as The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman dug into, it was just being slow that has soured some of us on Brown.
So How Did Orlando Brown Do?
Did you click that link? Let’s take each of them in turn, then, using Pro-Football-Reference, and try to ignore the dumb insistence on imperial measurements.
Vertical Jump – 19’5”. For an average lineman (and this includes guards and centers) you’re looking at about 26’. The combine record (in all cases this is since 2000) for an O-Lineman is 37.5’. Elite tackles like Trent Williams, Lane Johnson and Terron Armstead hit around 34’.
Broad Jump – 82”. Kolton Miller hit the highest at this combine with 121”. Generally you want to comfortably clear 100”. Miller also holds the combine record, with players like Lane Johnson, Taylor Lewan and Eric Fisher close behind. The only lineman I can find who didn’t clear 90” but has had a decent NFL career is Mitchell Schwartz.
40 Time – 5.85s. Amazingly, a full second slower than the fastest lineman this year, Pitt’s Brian O’Neill. That is a big position disparity! But the second-slowest was 5.5s. So that’s still a huge gap to Brown. Looking at combines past, Armstead and Johnson nearly broke 4.7s.
Bench reps – 14. For a guy who looks so strong on tape! This isn’t that much worse than the field, there was a 16, a 17 and some 19s. The record? 41. And there are plenty who made 30+. I actually found a player who managed 9 bench reps! Demetress Bell, who played for the Bills (and started 16 games at left tackle in 2010) is that guy. He did not become a great player.
What Does That Even Mean
Look, the thing with the combine is, if it tells you something you already know, that shouldn’t influence your decision much. If a player looks freakishly athletic, and tests that way, good. Your instincts were right. If they look middling and test poorly, be concerned, and note whether that means they’ll struggle more than you thought at NFL level.
There’s not much precedent for Orlando Brown Jr, though. He definitely did not look athletic on tape. He has half-decent lateral movement (and, as it happens, combine testing did suggest that was okayish). But there’s just no record of players as unathletic as Brown making it at the pro level. Certainly not getting drafted in the second round.
Orlando Brown Jr looks strong on tape – like I said – much more than 14 bench press repetitions strong. Do teams write that off as a fluke result? Do they think entire reams of tape suddenly have no value? No, but maybe they stroke their chin a bit more about him. Do they wonder if he has problems with effort? That would be worth exploring. Teams will meet with Brown, and I expect some will ask him what the hell happened at the combine. We’ll probably only likely hear hints about whether he answered those well.
So, Has The Combine Changed Our Opinion On Orlando Brown?
In a way, yes. A player who looked unathletic is now incredibly athletic. A player who looked strong, well we have to ask why he didn’t look strong doing workouts. If the combine is making you ask more questions, filling your mind with doubt, it’s a fair sign a player’s draft stock is going to drop. And I expect Brown’s to. How far? Well, the tape is good enough for Day 2. The testing levels scream more “undrafted”. Teams may want to start thinking about him as a guard. I don’t expect him to go until rounds 4-5 now, but it’s not a strong O-lineman class, so we’ll see.