- A closer look at the Titans' picks: Round 2/52 - Zach Brown, LB, 6-1, 242, North Carolina...This fills a need for a speedy weak-side linebacker, who should compete right away for a starting job. A solid pick, but a bit of a surprise, given that Tennessee bypassed center Peter Konz, who had a first-round grade. - The Sports Xchange
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He is only beginning to learn how to maximize his exceptional ability on a football field, but Brown is fast and fascinating.
He has an abundance of one natural ability that can't be taught -- speed. Brown officially set a school record in track with an indoor 60-meter time of 6.72 seconds in 2009. He checked in at the Combine with an unofficial best of 4.44 seconds in the 40 and actually seemed off stride in the middle of the run. He added a vertical jump of 33.5 inches.
His raw athleticism is tantalizing, but he lacks the instincts to be a great linebacker and may need to add even more bulk than the additional six pounds he put on for the Combine since the season. Meantime, at the very least, he can be a terror on special teams, same as he was in college.
Read & React: Still a work in progress in this area, though he showed improvement as the 2010 season wore on. Takes a false-step on occasion, but is an alert player whose rare speed puts him in position to make the play. Reacts quickly in pass coverage once the ball is thrown. Hustles to the ball.
Run defense: Not an overly physical defender. Relies on his speed and elusiveness to evade blockers, rather than taking them on. Too often is stale-mated at the point of attack when blockers are able to get their hands on him. Doesn't use his hands well to shed blocks, at this time. Possesses excellent speed to beat backs to the edge, however, and has the burst to slip through gaps to create tackle-for-loss opportunities.
Pass defense: Often fooled by good play-action, but has the flexibility and straight-line speed to recover. Gains good depth on his drops when in obvious passing situations. Keeps his head on a swivel and shows some feel for zone coverage. Reads the quarterback's eyes and can plant and break on the ball. At least average ball-skills for the position and has the athleticism to be a threat with the ball in his hands on a return (see INT return against Tennessee in the Music City Bowl). Has the physical skills to eventually excel in this area.
Tackling: Doesn't possess a great deal of explosiveness as a hitter. Demonstrates good, but not great lateral agility to break down and make the tackle in the open field. Will overpursue and leave himself vulnerable to the cut-back, on occasion. Uses his long arms to "rassle" down the ball-carrier, rather than striking him and making the secure stop.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Very raw in this area. Possesses the explosive athleticism you can't coach, but relies almost exclusively on his speed and agility to elude blockers, including running backs. Doesn't show much in terms of pass rush technique.
Intangibles: Two-sport athlete who also participates in track for North Carolina. Set the school record in the indoor 60-meter dash with a 6.72 time in 2009. Unofficially clocked at 4.28 seconds by UNC coaches during off-season conditioning in 2009. Was named a special teams captain in 2010 for earning the most points in Carolina's scoring system.