2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Sydney Brown

  • Sydney Brown, 5-10/211

  • Safety

  • Illinois

  • Sydney Brown Scouting Report
    By Charlie Campbell

  • Good instincts
  • Tough defender coming downhill
  • Physical
  • Good run defender
  • Quality tackler
  • Quickness
  • Fast
  • Comes up with some splash plays
  • Reads a quarterback’s eyes
  • Functional in zone coverage
  • Intelligent
  • Disciplined
  • Starting strong safety in the NFL
  • Operates well in short zone
  • Should be able to contribute on special teams
  • Good character
  • Hard worker
  • Leader
  • Durable

  • Weaknesses:
  • Not a free safety
  • Has limitations in pass coverage
  • Can’t play deep consistently
  • Lacks height, length
  • Has some tightness
  • Gets knocked around by blockers in the box

  • Summary: Brown had some moments in his early years at Illinois, recording 88 tackles in 2019 and putting up four interceptions over his first four seasons. He then put together a phenomenal 2022 season for the Illini. On the year, Brown recorded 59 tackles, one sack, seven passes broken up and six interceptions.

    Brown would fit best as a strong safety in the NFL, and it looks like he could be a starter there early in his career. While he is not that big, Brown has good instincts that turn him into a solid defender who is largely around the ball. He plays hard, is really tough, and has a knack for making splash plays. Brown is a quality tackler and uses his speed to come downhill and get in on tackles. While he is not the biggest of safeties, he does not hesitate to get physical and will seek to deliver some hard hits. Brown can sometimes get bounced around by blockers, however, and his size and physicality will be issues for him at the next level.

    As a pro, Brown should be a solid run defender and could contribute some as the eighth man in the box. However, Brown does have size limitations, and if he is in the box, he will get knocked around somewhat by NFL linemen.

    Sources say Brown has some limitations in pass coverage. While he is not a throwaway in coverage, he is not a deep center fielder and should not play out there consistently. Brown also is not great in man coverage on tight ends. Brown would be best in zone coverage in the middle of the field.

    Brown looks destined to end up as a first- or second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

    Player Comparison: Taylor Rapp. Brown is reminiscent of Rapp, who is a rotational-caliber strong safety with some limitations. Rapp was a second-day pick in 2019, and Brown could go on Day 2 during the 2023 NFL Draft.


    2023 NFL Mock Draft: Charlie’s | Walt’s

    2023 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings

    2023 NFL Draft Scouting Reports

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 16

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12