Former All-Pro Chad Brown Gives Advice to Seahawks Draftees in 'Unusual' Offseason
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 offseason has been unlike any other in NFL history. Given circumstances, expect the unexpected as the league tries to return to the field in preparation for a new season.
Despite all the unrest and uncertainty that the past three months have brought, the show will go on and, barring a drastic announcement, football will be played sometime this fall. This leaves 2020 draftees with a tall task of preparing for their inaugural seasons in the NFL without the structure or instruction that rookies normally get with minicamps and organized team activities.
Two-time All-Pro linebacker Chad Brown knows a thing or two about the expectations as a former high draft pick, arriving in Pittsburgh as a second round pick back in 1993. Though he didn't enter the league during a pandemic, he offered some words of advice for incoming rookies looking back at what he learned when he began his career.
"Becoming a professional is probably the most difficult step for a lot of college guys," Brown said. "You may have the athletic skills to be able to walk onto an NFL field and compete, but you certainly don’t walk into the NFL with that professionalism part figured out."
"How do I study tape? How do I take care of my body? There’s no one feeding you anymore. You got to start feeding yourself some of these meals. So what does that look like? How do I best care for my body? That’s probably the biggest hurdle most of the guys have to conquer."
Brown admits this offseason is unlike any other and today's rookies face an unparalleled challenge. However, some principles still ring true even in the most unprecedented of circumstances.
"This offseason is clearly unusual. At the same time, whenever something unusual comes up, there’s always an opportunity for someone to approach it the right way."
This year's new crop of Seahawks have an opportunity to seize this uncertain opportunity and make the most of it. Specifically, top picks Jordyn Brooks and Darrell Taylor should pay special attention to Chad Brown's words as a fellow defensive player who was selected early in the draft.
"Your ability to optimize this time, obviously they are doing some of the Zoom or Skype sessions with their coaches now. But the guys who jump off of that Zoom session and go out on the field and walk it through and mentally transform the Zoom session into on the field movement and activity... Those guys that take those extra steps like that are the ones that are going to emerge out of this crazy offseason in the best shape, not just physical shape but the mental shape and everything else."
When it comes to being mentally prepared for their first NFL training camp, Brown urges incoming rookies to "find their learning style" as he did.
"If you're the kind of guy that can look at an iPad all day long and digest it, that’s great. Other guys need to put the iPads away and pull out a piece of paper and draw it and that’s how they memorize it. So those steps to learn who you are and how you learn are critically important to accelerating their ability to digest playbooks and concepts."
The incoming rookies certainly are at a disadvantage when it comes to getting reps and learning Seattle's system amid this wild offseason. However, that should not be used as an excuse for them to come into training camp ill-prepared, regardless of whether it starts on time or not.