Puts ball-carriers and quarterbacks down with pain
Powerful bull rush
Can fire by blockers with speed
Can set the edge
Good lateral anchor
Plays with good leverage
Quick out of his stance
Rare speed for a defender his size
Fast in the short area
Ability to redirect
Gives a second effort
Very versatile on the line
Can fit as a five-technique or nose tackle in a 3-4
Could play three-technique or nose tackle in a 4-3
More of a pass-pressure player than sack producer
Sometimes did not produce as much as he seemed capable of
Summary: Auburn has produced a number of good NFL defensive line talents in recent years, but perhaps none of them are as good of a prospect as Brown. Team sources have said that if Brown were in the 2019 NFL Draft he would have gone ahead of Ed Oliver and Christian Wilkins. Brown easily could have gone in the top five, but he decided to return for his senior year. Brown is supremely talented with a rare combination of size, speed, power and technique.
Over the past three seasons, Brown was one of the best defensive linemen in college football. In 2017, he totaled 56 tackles with nine tackles for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two forced fumbles for the year. Brown caused more is disruption than the numbers illustrate and created a lot of negative plays for the offense. Brown played well as a junior despite facing a bunch of double teams. In 2018, Brown totaled 48 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 10.5 tackles for a loss and one forced fumble.
Brown was phenomenal as a senior, totaling 55 tackles with 12.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks, four passes batted and two forced fumbles. He was an animal against Florida with a strip-sack, two fumble recoveries, lots of yardage on fumble returns, and ton of disruption in the backfield. After only playing one series against Kent State, Brown dominated against Texas A&M. He was a monster in the ground game and collected two sacks and a forced fumble as a pass-rusher. Brown came through with some phenomenal plays to help Auburn win the Iron Bowl and illustrated his freakish skill set. He racked up seven tackles and caused lots of disruption against the Crimson Tide. Brown battled hard against Georgia and had some impressive plays versus the Bulldogs' all-star offensive line.
As a pass-rusher, Brown beats blockers with variety. He is very strong and will push the pocket with his bull rush. Brown also uses his heavy hands and upper body strength to shed blocks at the point of attack. He can toss blockers to the side and charge after the quarterback. Brown also has good speed with a burst to close and the ability to fire by blockers. His speed off the snap makes him a natural three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense. With his power and ability to bull rush, he also could play nose tackle.
On top of his unique combination of strength and speed, Brown has tremendous instincts. He uses good vision to redirect and has a real feel for how plays evolve. That leads to him making big plays in pursuit and out of giving a second effort. On top of his instincts and great skill set, Brown is a violent football player. He puts ball-carriers to the turf hard and is very rough with offensive lineman. Blocking Brown is an extremely difficult proposition, and he wears out interior blockers.
Brown is a load in run defense. He uses his strength to hold his ground at the point of attack. Many college interior pass-rushers struggle to defend downhill runs coming straight at them, but Brown is the exception. He stuffs blocks at the line of scrimmage and doesn't get pushed back thanks to his strength with good leverage. Brown will also toss blocks to the side and make tackles in the ground game. He showed incredible power to make one-armed tackles and throw blockers to the side to cause havoc at the point of attack. He has a strong lateral anchor, and it is nearly impossible to move him out of his gap.
Brown has enough length, strength and athleticism to get consideration as a 3-4 defensive end, although playing the three-technique in a 4-3 might be his best fit. He also could play nose tackle in a 4-3 or 3-4.
Brown is the second best player in the 2020 NFL Draft in this analyst's opinion behind only Ohio State's Chase Young. Where he goes is dependent on team needs, but Brown is a true top-five talent. Brown has the ability to be one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL, and it would not surprise me if he has a legendary career.
Player Comparison: Ndamukong Suh. Brown may not top out as highly as Suh did as a sack producer early in his career, but with refinement, Brown should produce quality sack numbers. Brown and Suh are both incredibly strong, physical, athletic and quick. Suh (6-4, 313) and Brown are similar size. Early in his career, Suh had the ability to take over games at the point of attack, and Brown does as well.