Sydney Brown Complete NFL Draft Profile (Illinois Safety's Age and Track Record Raise Red Flags)
Illinois safety Sydney Brown is headed to the 2023 NFL Draft following his breakout season in 2022. A five-year starter at Illinois, Brown is an older prospect who is tricky to project at the pro level.
Here's everything you need to know about Sydney Brown heading into the 2023 NFL Draft.
Sydney Brown Draft Stock & Mock Draft Projections
Las Vegas Raiders
Pro Football Network
Green Bay Packers
New England Patriots
Mock draft sources accurate as of 4/22: Walter Football, Sporting News, CBS Sports, Pro Football Network, ESPN.
Projected Draft Round: Round 3 (2), Round 4 (2), Round 2 (1)
Projected Team: Bengals (1), Colts (1), Raiders (1), Packers (1), Patriots (1)
Sydney Brown Scouting Report
Sydney Brown, a versatile and athletic safety from the University of Illinois, stands at 5'10" and weighs 210 lbs. With a wealth of experience under his belt, Brown brings a combination of speed and explosiveness to the table. As a five-year starter at Illinois, he demonstrated his adaptability in various roles, including playing in the box, slot and deep safety. Despite his strong physical presence and playmaking abilities, concerns remain about his inconsistency in coverage throughout his college career.
Brown boasts a sturdy, compact build with a strong lower body. He is a remarkable linear athlete, displaying quick closing bursts and effective run defense, able to navigate blocks and cover gaps. With 10 career interceptions, including six in his impressive 2022 season, Brown has proven his ball skills. As an instinctive player with excellent reactive athleticism, he rapidly rotates to deep zones. Brown is also a valuable special-teams contributor with experience in punt return, punt coverage, and field-goal block. Additionally, he is an efficient blitzer with the ability to disrupt unsuspecting ball carriers.
However, Brown's inconsistent performance with only one standout season (2022) raises some concerns. He struggles with fluidity, displaying limitations in changing directions and hip movement. His inconsistent tackling is also highlighted by a roughly 18% missed-tackle rate, as he has a tendency to leave his feet early or take poor angles. Brown's uneven performance in man coverage could see him challenged by faster athletes at the professional level. He also lacks the ideal size to engage with blocks in the box, which may result in being neutralized by NFL linemen. In coverage, Brown's technique is inconsistent, leaving him prone to being thrown off balance by receivers.
In summary, Sydney Brown is a dynamic safety prospect with a solid build, exceptional athleticism, and significant experience in a variety of roles. While his dominant 2022 season turned heads, concerns about his inconsistency in man coverage and tackling throughout college linger. Brown's potential to contribute on special teams and his prowess as a run defender make him an appealing prospect for NFL teams. If he can maintain his 2022 performance level, he could develop into a valuable player at the next level. Brown is projected to be selected between the second and fourth rounds in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Sydney Brown NFL Draft Prediction
While experience can certainly be sold as a positive, I'm just not sure that's the case with Brown. At 23 years old he's an older prospect, and not producing at a high level until he was 22 is a definite red flag. I also don't think teams will be sold on the way his game translates to the NFL level.
He won't be able to lean on his size and strength to hang in the box against NFL linemen the way he could in college, and lacking the versatility to cover athletic tight ends and slot receivers could make him a liability on passing downs.
Accordingly, projections on his draft stock are all over the place, but I suspect we're going to see that it's the more pessimistic of the group that come to fruition.
Prediction: New England Patriots (Round 4, 107th Overall)
Sydney Brown NFL Combine Results
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Sydney Brown Illinois Stats