Player Profile: Levi Brown

Who is he and how can he help the Cardinals? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Did Arizona reach or find the guy they were looking for the whole time. It's all analyzed here.

Levi Brown was a four year starter at left tackle at Penn State.  He was originally recruited as a defensive tackle, but after his red-shirt season, Joe Paterno (funny quote about this below) asked him to play on the offensive side of the ball and Brown never looked back (especially since he had already had a red-shirt year and it would be difficult for him to transfer).

Brown was the #1 guy available for Arizona and upgrades a position (and really an entire unit) of need.  The arguments about Brown getting taken too early will not stop until he makes them stop.  Whether or not he'll be looked at as the next Levi Jones (a guy who certainly proved his critics wrong by playing above his draft stature) or the next, well, Levi Brown is a matter that will be settled down the road.

The guy has two degrees (said he promised his Mom he'd graduate) and definitely seems to have a good head on his shoulders.  He likes to dominate the opposition (used the word "dominate" 324 times by unofficial count) and he likes to talk a little trash, by his own admission.

He is exceedingly comfortable and affable with the media.  He even made a joke about Joe Paterno at the Combine when reporters asked why he started out his college career as a defensive tackle: "Coach came up to me.  Little guy with glasses.  You may have heard of him.  And he told me to play offense, so I did."

However, his calm, likeable, easygoing demeanor off the field does not look anything like his persona on it.  Last season, Brown called out (and physically grabbed and chastised) senior fullback and starter BranDon Snow for complaining that his back-up had scored the touchdown (instead of him) against Minnesota last season.  This was in a game that Brown dressed for, but did not play.  The intensity is definitely there.

As is the production: During the two games that Brown missed last season, Penn State averaged 2.99 yards per carry compared to the 4.82 yards per carry that they averaged the rest of the season with Brown in the line-up.

Brown has the prototypical size and athletic ability that Russ Grimm and Ken Whisenhunt look for in a right tackle (leave us not forget that Matt Leinart is left-handed).  He also possesses the mentality (he uttered the word "dominate" roughly 42,153 times during his Combine press conference) that Grimm and Whisenhunt look for.

When he takes the field, he doesn't simply want to block people, he wants to assassinate them.  Coming from the defensive side of the ball, he does not shy away from contact and looks at blocking as more of a battle of collisions than an art.  He looks to dominate the man across from him until that individual doesn't want to get up any more.  He wants to beat on you mentally and physically until you're a shell of your former self.  That's what he did at Penn State.  And that's just what he'll do when he's on the Cardinals.

As the fifth overall selection in this year's draft and someone that is likely to be under tremendous pressure in the coming seasons, Brown also has the attitude to handle the press, handle the fans, and handle the stress.  He's a likeable, gregarious, and funny guy.  He's the kind of guy players will gravitate towards in the locker room.  He's the kind of guy players will follow on the football field.

He's also the kind of guy that could shake things up on the Cardinals offensive line, increase the level of competition, tenacity, and nastiness of the unit in general.

Looking at the pick in terms of how it will affect the team and particularly the offensive line as a whole makes this pick make a lot more sense.  Looking at it long-term, as opposed to not "getting value" or "reaching," it will be the right move for Arizona this season and beyond.

 


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