Linebacker has always been a position of intrigue for Denver Broncos and the future is unknown for a few players beyond 2021. Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell are good players; however, they are scheduled to become free agents in 2022. Both started in 2020 and both may not be in Denver next season. Therefore, the team needed some reinforcements at the position which they found in the NFL Draft. Baron Browning has entered the chat.
Browning has freak measurements that offer tremendous versatility at the position. Between he and Justin Strnad, the athleticism both bring to the table is exciting. Browning also has impressive speed at his size. Players who are 240 pounds do not run a 4.5 40-yard dash very often. If that seems slow to you, then turn the tape on for him. You will see a player who has true game speed who can cover the sideline to sideline.
The Denver Broncos have not had a player who is this athletically gifted at this position for quite a while. Browning’s measurements allow the Broncos to use him at potentially both inside or outside linebacker. The other could potentially be an edge rusher.
Everyone praised the player in Micah Parsons from the other Big Ten school Penn State; however, Ohio State’s Browning is right on par as the same talent as Parsons. Parsons is a very unique talent who has off-field concerns. Browning checks the same type of skill set without the off-field scare.
Vic Fangio now has the opportunity to use Browning in the same potential way as a Lavonte David or Roquan Smith. Browning is a speedy and strong linebacker who fits the mold of Fangio’s needs at the position. New GM George Paton gave Fangio a special player in Browning and are lucky he lasted as long as he did.
Due to the versatility of Browning maybe some teams did not know where to play him like Parsons or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Owusu-Koramoah likely fell due to size. But with position flexibility, it’s still worth questioning exactly why.
Browning is a tremendous athlete who, due to his measurements, compares to the likes of Von Miller, Khalil Mack, Leighton Vander Esch, Luke Kuechly, and Jamie Collins. Miller and Mack are the fascinating ones.
Denver will still need to decide about Miller and his future with the organization at the end of the season, but Browning gives the team the option to play him as an edge rusher. He was not used much but excelled when he was sent off the edge. It’s proof he can do it all at linebacker.
One of his best potential traits is his high football IQ. Denver mentioned when they drafted him they wanted to see him at inside linebacker first then maybe transition outside depending on what happens. It would not at all be shocking if Browning turns into a Bobby Wagner type or Luke Kuechly type for Denver.
Browning’s athleticism mixed with his instincts are a special blend. Since Fangio is given a player of this magnitude, there is a strong possibility Browning can be a superstar. Even further, it also would not be surprising to see Browning take over as a starter sooner rather than later.
Denver was fortunate to have Browning fall to them at pick 105 and he has the potential to be a superstar.