A.J. Brown is a rare breed when it comes to slot receivers. Often, guys in the slot tend to be smaller, shiftier receivers who utilize their size and quickness to win at the line and in their routes. Think Julian Edelman, Golden Tate, Cole Beasley, etc. All those guys are 5-foot-10 or under. Brown on the other hand is a thiccly built 6 foot, 226 pound receiver who still boasts the elusiveness to be a monster out of the slot, while having the size to play out on the boundary. He’s the perfect weapon for today’s NFL.
For his size, Brown routinely demonstrates the ability to flow in and out of cuts while maintaining his speed, and once he’s got the ball in his hands, he’s able to use his bigger frame to shed tackles and pick up yards after the catch. While he does have the occasional drop, those are mostly due to dips in focus rather than a fundamental flaw in his catch process. His hands are solid and he can pluck the ball out of the air, though he doesn’t do it as often as the top receivers in the league.
His biggest downside might be his speed. Even though his 4.49 40 at the combine is nice, it doesn’t show up that often on tape. He has the speed to gain a little separation from defensive backs at the top of his routes but rarely is he blowing by corners. That’s not to say he doesn’t have the quickness and athleticism to get open—you don’t catch 160 balls for over 2,500 yards in two years if you can’t get open—but he doesn’t regularly display the breakaway speed that some of the top receivers in this class possess (looking at you D.K.).
That all being said, I’m a huge Brown fan given his skill set and his versatility. I’m a big fan of bigger guys who still have the ability to work out of the slot. We’ve seen it with JuJu Smith-Schuster who’s had a ton of success since entering the NFL. Also, it’s very likely that he makes is way out of the first round which opens up lots of potential landing spots for him that could be really fun.
Brown’s college stats
Best fantasy fits
- Indianapolis Colts: I know the Colts have been mentioned in every WR profile we’ve done so far but I can’t help but put them front and center on this list. Just imagine Brown in the slot between T.Y. Hilton and Devin Funchess. I’m getting all kinds of hot and bothered just thinking about it.
- New England Patriots: I can’t spend 400 words talking about a big slot receiver that I love and not mention the Patriots. This might finally be the year that Bill Belichick drafts a wide receiver in the first round and I’m here for it being A.J. Brown. His size and versatility would be huge for the Patriots’ offense and I think he could quickly become a bright young focal point in the post-Gronk offense.
- San Francisco 49ers: No the Niners aren’t going to take Brown second overall, but could I see them pulling the trigger on an offensive weapon at the start of the second round? Hell yea I can! Dante Pettis showed flashes last year and he and Marquise Goodwin would make for a strong outside pair. Meanwhile Brown would join George Kittle across the middle, giving Jimmy Garoppolo all kinds of people to throw the ball to. Plus, I missed out on my Antonio Brown to the 49ers prediction, so might as well try and start talking A.J. Brown to the 49ers into existence.
Which team do you want to see draft A.J. Brown?
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