Arguably the biggest hole remaining on the Broncos’ roster is at inside linebacker, a position that has been filled by stop-gap players such as Paris Lenon and Keith Brooking over the last couple of years.
With some solid competition for Nate Irving, the Broncos could actually turn this position into one of strength in the former NC State Wolfpack star’s fourth year in the NFL. Due to injuries, Irving has been swapped around to the strong-side linebacker position and hasn’t really found the niche on the inside the Broncos had hoped when they drafted him.
Hence, the need at inside linebacker.
So, I want to take a look at Louisville linebacker Preston Brown, an All-Conference performer and a guy who had a big senior season for the Cardinals.
Wt: 251 lbs.
- Great size for ILB
- Strong tackler
- Makes plays in the backfield
- Very active
- Takes good angles
- Makes defensive calls
- 3-year starter
- Big hands/long arms
- Two-down player
- Tight hips in coverage
- Not great straight line speed
- Mismatch in the passing game
This is a fourth round player who the Broncos could target to be their new inside linebacker. His best value is in the fourth round (or later) if the Broncos can get him there but they’ve proven in the past that their board is a lot different from the draft boards that are put out before the picks fall into place.
If the Broncos feel like Brown can come in, make the calls for their defense, and rotate out on third downs for their pass-down packages, then he’s potentially going to be viewed as a third round pick. Here is my pre-season report on him:
Really solid downhill linebacker who is a thumper on the inside that has the size of a smaller defensive end. Brown was a very productive player as a junior for the Cardinals, racking up 108 tackles, four passes broken up, three tackles for loss, and an interception. He is a run stuffing linebacker who could be a mid-late round pick when he comes out for the 2014 NFL Draft. He doesn’t have great hips in coverage, but he has the ability to be a tough two-down linebacker in the NFL that tackles really well. His biggest flaw as a prospect is his range, but he does a good job of taking appropriate angles and actually was really solid in coverage last year as a junior. If he can improve that area of his game, his stock could rise considerably.
Preston Brown vs. Florida International (via Draft Breakdown)