Mock #1: ESPN: Kiper - 2nd Round (52): New York Jets
Mock #2: ESPN: McShay - 2nd Round (60): New York Giants
Mock #3: Fox Sports: Schrager - 3rd Round (76): New York Jets
Brown began the process projected to be a third or fourth-round pick but after a strong showing at the 2009 NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl he began a rise up the draft boards. At the combine, Brown checked in at 6-foot and 224 pounds, ripped off a 4.49 40-yard dash (third-best among tailbacks), bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times, and posted a 37-inch vertical jump.
His 40 time opened a lot of eyes, as some speculated that he would run in the 4.6-range, but Brown thinks that was because he played late in his career with foot problems after having two surgeries on his left foot.
"I knew I was going to run well," said Brown. "A lot of people didn't think I would run well, but I've been hurt and now I'm 100%. I was confident going into the combine, and I think that's why I performed well."
The strides he made as a tailback were noticeable. His first two years, he often broke runs outside looking to make a big play, but as a junior and senior he showed more confidence in his blockers and ran hard behind his pads. Brown says a lot of the credit for his development goes to Wolfpack running backs coach Jason Swepson, who coached Brown in 2007 and 2008.
"They helped me out a lot, especially mentally," said Brown. "Coach Swepson gave me a good gist of how to be a football player and how to be a running back. What I mean by that is my football IQ is higher.
"From learning defenses, knowing how to make a read, knowing when to press it... my freshman and sophomore year, I wasn't really into defenses. It was just give me the ball and I'll run away from everybody. Now I know how to read [defenses]. Put that with me being 100%, I feel like the sky is the limit."
Brown has spent the past few weeks visiting various teams and going through several interviews, and for him the big day is here. He will be watching the draft in Raleigh, North Carolina with his family and friends.
Positives: Tall and thick in upper and lower bodies. Strong straight-ahead runner. Nimble enough to sidestep and find a running lane. Lowers his pads to run over tacklers. Will keep his legs churning in short-yardage situations and carry linebackers and safeties for a few yards. Able to stand up to blitzing linebackers. Productive receiver who is a mismatch against safeties in the open field.
Negatives: Runs tall. Lacks elite speed, taking a few steps to get going. Inconsistent hands out of the backfield, body-catches too often. Tends to dance in the hole if there is anyone in his sight. Does not have the quickness to make defenders miss once stopped. Must have more awareness of blitzers off the edge.
Mock #1: ESPN: Kiper - 3rd Round (88): Baltimore Ravens
Mock #2: ESPN: McShay - 5th Round (163): Carolina Panthers
Mock #3: Fox Sports: Schrager - 6th Round (198): Baltimore Ravens
Like Brown, Anthony Hill began the process projected to be a mid-round draft pick and he looks to go in that range.
The 6-foot-5, 262-pounder is known as a devastating pass blocker who is extremely physical and capable of making plays in the passing game. He had a breakout season in 2006, recording 45 catches for 478 yards to garner second-team All-ACC honors.
However, he was sidelined all of 2007 with a knee injury and missed some of 2008 with a chest injury. He still managed to total 19 catches and four scores, and remained on the radar of NFL scouts.
Hill will likely be watching the draft from his Houston, Texas home with his family and friends.
Positives: Tall with some strength and long arms. Presents a nice target to his quarterback on bootlegs and in zones. Physical blocking for the run and pass. Finds his target in space, can latch on and push him downfield. Fair lateral movement to stay in front of defensive ends on the line. Lines up in the slot and with his hand down. Uses his length and height to stretch the field. Reliable, soft hands and physical enough to push off defenders and gain yardage after the catch.
Negatives: Built like a receiver. Long strider who lacks quickness out of his stance or the speed to separate, although his height is an advantage downfield. Does not have suddenness in and out of routes, and will round them off. Fails to sustain blocks against quicker defenders in space because he does not bend his knees, has slow footwork and stiff hips. Waist-bender when blocking defensive ends on the edge. Durability concerns abound with ACL and chest injuries keeping him out over the past two seasons.
Potential Wolfpackers Drafted in Late Rounds or Free Agent Signees: Offensive Lineman John Bedics, Defensive Tackle Antoine Holmes, Cornerback Jeremy Gray, Linebacker Robbie Leonard, Offensive Lineman Meares Green, and Defensive Tackle Keith Willis Jr.