Finding Broncos: Scouting Ohio State LB Baron Browning

Finding Broncos scouts the 2021 NFL draft class to find the best Mile High fits. What's the scoop on Baron Browning and how would he fit in Denver?
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Welcome to Finding Broncos, our annual prospect-by-prospect series deep-diving on the coming NFL draft class. The scouting continues with Ohio State linebacker Baron Browning, a prospect oft-mocked to the Denver Broncos.

Measurables

  • Height: 6-foot-3
  • Weight: 241 pounds

Pro Day Results

  • Arms: 33.5 inches
  • Hands: 10 inches
  • 40 Time: 4.56 seconds
  • Vertical Jump: 40 inches
  • Broad Jump: 10-feet-10 inches
  • 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.22 seconds
  • 3-Cone Drill: 6.78 seconds
  • Bench Press (225 lbs): 23 reps

Stats

Snip

Pros

  • Elite burst to close on the ball-carrier in an instant
  • Very good scheme and position versatility
  • Did everything and played everywhere at Ohio State
  • Good tackling technique — wraps up and drives through
  • Super athlete
  • Brings the head as a tackler and goes for the big hit when it's there
  • Matches well with tight ends in coverage, either in man or zone
  • Excellent with taking on blocks and breaking them down to get by them
  • Shed ability offers up really good blitz potential
  • Great sideline-to-sideline range and quickness
  • Really loose and quick to open up in space and in coverage
  • Uses leverage extremely well to get blockers on their heels
  • Uses his length to clog passing lanes that quarterbacks may think are open

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Cons

  • Needs to improve his awareness in zone and is late to rotate at times
  • Needs to hone his ability to read developing plays
  • Change-of-direction can be clunky, which is a problem when mirroring in man
  • Lateral movement close to the line looks cautious and slow
  • While being used in multiple ways is good for versatility, his overall technique is messy

Overview

Browning was a 'do whatever was asked of him' type of linebacker and it really speaks to his versatility and how quickly he can pick things up. The problem that arises with that is, there isn’t a clear transition on where to play him in the NFL because he has strengths and weaknesses that are major for each linebacker position he might project at. 

There also are some issues with the mental aspect of Browning's game, far more here than physical, that coaches will have to spend time fixing in the film room. He has all the physical traits and athleticism to be great but has to put it all together to reach greatness.

Fit with Broncos

The fact he can do a little bit of everything is one reason he fits in so well with the Broncos. Vic Fangio likes players that can do a lot of different things in his defense, however, Browning's concerns with the mental aspect could be an impediment with the Broncos because a lot falls on them mentally. 

A mistake from the linebackers could really bring down the whole defense in Fangio’s scheme; they're that important. That is the concern with Browning, but how quickly he picked things up fin all the different roles for the Buckeyes should give some confidence that he can follow suit to be a success in Denver’s defense.

Grade: Round 2

Where he Goes: Round 2


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