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2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Sydney Brown (DB – Illinois)

2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Sydney Brown (DB – Illinois)

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 Sydney Brown.

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2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Sydney Brown (DB – Illinois)

Sydney Brown (DB – Illinois)

6’0” – 205 lbs.

Background:

Has been a major contributor since arriving at Illinois, starting ten games of his freshman season (leaving the last after one play) and recording 55 tackles, one interception, and five breakups. Started another ten of eleven games played the following year and totaled 88 tackles, three interceptions, and one breakup, then six games in the shortened season (36 tackles), twelve games in 2021 (81 tackles, three breakups), and twelve games this past year in a significantly more efficient campaign (60 tackles, six interceptions, seven breakups).

Positives:

Has done a little bit of everything in college, lining up in the box just under half the time but also playing in the slot or as a high safety at relatively even rates. Five-year starter who made significant strides this past year. Well-built for a pro defensive back, with good functional strength and contact balance. Plays with solid recognition skills and a physical temperament. Reads keys well in the run game and flows fast to the ball; able to chase down some opponents in backside pursuit. Capable of working through trash and discarding would-be blockers at the receiver position. Shows some explosiveness into his tackle attempts. Does a nice job of using his hands to stay with receivers in coverage, and was even trusted on the boundary on occasion. Flips his hips pretty well. Gets his head around quickly to locate the football. On-ball production this past season was impressive.

Negatives:

Something of a one-year wonder who didn’t grade out highly prior to his final season. Not the most reliable tackler; missed 17.8% of his career attempts. Overruns some of his spots and could be more consistent about breaking down. Has some trouble navigating through congestion and can be targeted on pick plays and other routes of that nature. Did a lot of man and robber coverages, but wasn’t really asked to do much in high zones during the games reviewed.

Summary:

Had been in the starting lineup since 2018, but it wasn’t until his fifth year at Illinois that he really established himself as a legitimate prospect, intercepting six passes and making significant strides in terms of his overall efficiency. Looked like an instinctive box safety or nickel defender on tape this past season, and should come off the board in the mid-rounds, likely beginning his career on coverage units.

Projection: Round 4

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