As the NFL season winds down, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL draft scouting reports before the combine in March. Here’s a look at Chase Brown.
2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Chase Brown (RB – Illinois)
Chase Brown (RB – Illinois)
5’11” – 205 lbs.
Born in Canada, moving to Florida in high school and originally committing to Western Michigan, where he ran for 352 yards as a freshman before transferring to Illinois and redshirting 2019 after carrying the ball just three times. Started six of eight games in 2020 and went 104-540-3 (5.2) before breaking out in 2021 with 170-1,005-5 (5.9). Had a massive senior-year line of 328-1,643-10 (5.0), adding 27-240-3 receiving in his final year.
Has escalating output in each year, culminating in a huge senior year as the team’s bellcow, one in which he hit 100+ yards in all but the team’s final game. Has a thick lower body. Has a smooth game and is able to change speeds effectively. Shows adequate patience and vision to let blocking develop and recognize cutback lanes. Clean footwork when shuffling to find a hole, and doesn’t waste any time hitting when he finds an opportunity, showing adequate burst. Runs with a low center of gravity and appropriate knee-bend. Able to squeeze through pockets for yardage. Can slip by defenders in a phone booth. Runs through arm tackles in the open field. Tries to spin off of attempts for additional yardage. Generally finishes runs by falling forward. Doesn’t shy away from contact in pass protection, and has the anchor strength to absorb power.
Carried the load last year but is on the small side for a feature back. Most of his work came out of the shotgun or pistol. Not the fastest, quickest, or most explosive back; more of a chunk gainer than a home-run hitter, with just one run over 40 yards last year. Overall balance is just average. A tough runner but not a particularly punishing one; doesn’t work his way through many tackle attempts. Fumbles were an issue last year, putting the ball on the ground five times. A pure safety valve in the passing game who rarely lined up anywhere but the backfield. Doesn’t consistently engage with his hands/arms in blitz pickup, leading to issues from time to time.
A pretty good pure runner with a strong lower body, good footwork, and who proved that he can carry the load as a workhorse in a highly productive senior season, but who is on the small side for the position, lacks special athleticism, and is a relatively straightforward safety valve in the passing game. Definitely put himself on the map this season, but is probably going to end up in a running-back rotation, probably paired with a receiving back and perhaps a more dynamic option. Looks like a mid-round pick.
Projection: Round 4-5
Other 2023 NFL Draft Running Back Prospects
- Devon Achane (RB – Texas A&M)
- Tank Bigsby (RB – Auburn)
- Zach Charbonnet (RB – UCLA)
- Zach Evans (RB – Mississippi)
- Jahmyr Gibbs (RB – Alabama)
- Roschon Johnson (RB – Texas)
- Kenny McIntosh (RB – Georgia)
- Kendre Miller (RB – TCU)
- Bijan Robinson (RB – Texas)
- Sean Tucker (RB – Syracuse)