Once described as a “lockdown corner” and one of the fastest players in the 2021 NFL Draft, Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown is an intriguing and desirable NFL prospect. However, Sooners’ defensive backs have been largely overlooked since Roy Williams was the eighth overall pick in 2002. Where does that leave Brown as he heads towards this year’s annual selection event?
Tre Brown NFL Draft Profile & Senior Bowl Measurements
- Position: Cornerback
- School: Oklahoma
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 5’9 3/4″
- Weight: 185 pounds
- Wingspan: 72 1/4″
- Arm: 29 1/8″
- Hand: 9 1/2″
Tony Pauline’s Tre Brown Scouting Report
Positives: Three-year starter who also was a major contributor as a kick returner. Small but feisty corner with solid ball skills. Quick flipping his hips in transition, tracks the pass in the air, and has a nice move to the throw. Stays on the receiver’s hip out of breaks, has an explosive burst out of his plant, and dives around the field to break up passes. Quick to read and diagnose, and fires up the field defending screen passes or the run.[sv slug=”drizly”]
Negatives: Lacks size and gets physically beaten by bigger receivers. Must improve the consistency of his backpedal. Not a stout tackler. Gets grabby at times.
Analysis: Brown lacks great size but is a feisty corner who could line up in dime packages and be an asset as a return specialist in the NFL.
Tre Brown Player Profile
For some, the journey to the NFL takes them across the nation in pursuit of success. Not so for one Tulsa, Oklahoma, native. He may have made a name for himself in Norman, but Tre Brown’s path to the NFL Draft began less than two hours up the I-44 at Union High School.
It may be unfair to say that Brown made a name for himself at Oklahoma. He was already turning heads and making an impression well before arriving in Norman with an impressive high school career. After an illustrious career that saw him set the school record for kick return yards, he capped it off in style by leading Union to a State Championship. Playing both sides of the ball, Brown secured a 53-yard touchdown in the title game.
A First Team All-State player as per The Oklahoman, Brown was recognized nationally as an Under Armour All-American
A cursive glance at his senior season stats makes you question why. Just 26 tackles and one interception is fairly meager compared to some gaudy high school stats. However, Brown was so good that opposition quarterbacks would actively avoid throwing his way. Union head coach Kirk Fridrich described why Brown was so good during his senior season.
“To me, he is a lockdown corner. He’s got such great ability with his speed and the way he plays football.”
Recruiting sites agreed. Brown was a four-star recruit out of Union and the third-ranked player in the state of Oklahoma. His first offer came from Louisville in June 2015, but Brown would find a home not too far from home. Offers from around the country would follow, including Florida, USC, and eventual rivals Texas. However, Brown never wavered from his commitment to Oklahoma and signed on as a Sooner in February 2017.
Tre Brown’s college football career at Oklahoma
Tre Brown made an immediate contribution to the Oklahoma cornerback room. Despite starting just one game, he saw plenty of playing time, making his first career pass breakup against TCU. Although he ended his freshman season with just 12 tackles and two pass breakups, he had laid the foundations for what would come next.
The 2018 season was a breakout year. On the defensive side, he led all Oklahoma cornerbacks with 12 pass breakups. Four of those came in a standout game against Baylor. Brown also achieved career-high totals for tackles, tackles for loss, and sacks. Despite impressing defensively, he was recognized with an All-Big 12 First Team honor for his special teams’ contribution.
Brown shined as a kick returner, racking up two 100-yard kick return games against UCLA and West Virginia. Over the course of his four year Oklahoma career, he would amass over 1,200 kick return yards at 20.9 yards per return.
It was Brown’s step up from his junior year to his senior year in 2020 that would leave a lasting impression in Norman
Prior to the season, coaches raved about his improved work ethic and commitment to lead by example. Oklahoma cornerback coach Roy Manning told the media “He’s as committed right now as I’ve ever seen since I’ve been here to his technique. It’s allowing him to make plays consistently. He is playing at a high level right now.”
Not only would he make plays consistently, but in the biggest moments too. In the most historic of rivalry games, Brown intercepted Sam Ehlinger to seal an overtime win for the Sooners over Texas. His third interception of the season came in the fourth quarter of the Big 12 Championship Game, giving Oklahoma the win over Iowa State.
Tre Brown announced his decision to opt out of the Cotton Bowl and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft at the end of the season. He finished his Oklahoma Sooners’ career with 41 pass breakups and four interceptions.
Analyzing Tre Brown’s NFL Draft Profile
As I mentioned in the introduction, Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown may be one of the fastest players in the 2021 NFL Draft. Reportedly, he ran a 40-yard dash in the 4.3 seconds range at high school. He has a recorded 4.41 seconds time from the Nike Football Ratings Championship. And he reaffirmed his reported speed with a 4.42 40-yard dash time at his pro day.
Throughout his career, Brown has been able to use his speed as an advantage. It has allowed him to put himself in a position where he can make plays that a player of his stature wouldn’t otherwise be able to make. He will be able to keep in the hip pocket of even the fastest wide receivers in the NFL.
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In addition to his speed, Brown plays the game with an aggression and physicality that belies his size. He can out-muscle even the most physical of receivers. He effectively demonstrated this against Arizona State’s Frank Darby in Senior Bowl practices.
Finally, Brown has excellent football intelligence. It’s another weapon in the toolbox that allows him to consistently make plays on the ball. As his former high school coach once said “He just has great instincts for the ball. He does a great job of reading what the quarterback does.”
What are the potential concerns with Tre Brown?
One of the biggest concerns for Tre Brown’s NFL Draft stock will be his size. Oklahoma has him listed at 5’10”, and he officially measured in at the Senior Bowl at 5’9 3/4″. Additionally, the average wingspan of an NFL cornerback is around 75-76 inches. Brown measured in at just over 72 inches. Does he have the size and length to play the position in the NFL?
A downside of his physical play style is that he can be a little grabby. That leads to unnecessary penalties, and when every inch let alone yard is so crucial in the NFL, that’s an area that he will need to see dramatic improvement upon.
Finally, while there is no getting away from his obvious speed, sometimes Brown looks a little labored in his change of direction. It’s all good and well being able to run downfield with the fastest receivers in the NFL, but you need to be able to stick with them when they suddenly alter course. There will be concerns about how effectively the Oklahoma cornerback can do that.
Tre Brown’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
His defensive ability and explosiveness as a kick returner make Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown a valuable commodity in the 2021 NFL Draft. Brown can contribute from the get-go on special teams even if he doesn’t have immediate starter potential at the cornerback position.
From a purely defensive standpoint, Brown would likely fit best in a team that predominantly operates a man coverage scheme that would utilize his speed and physicality. Recently, the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and Kansas City Chiefs have used the most man coverage in the NFL. Several of those teams could look to add additional cornerback depth in the offseason.
What is a realistic outlook for Tre Brown in the 2021 NFL Draft? In his latest big board for Pro Football Network, Tony Pauline has a sixth-round grade on Tre Brown. Although that feels realistic, it’s worth noting that his former Oklahoma teammate Parnell Motley received late-round buzz last year and ultimately went undrafted.
However, with a good pre-draft process and his special teams’ value, there is a good chance Tre Brown hears his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft.
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