It was 25 years ago when the Green Bay Packers selected Connecticut linebacker John Dorsey in the fourth round of the 1984 draft.
Today, Dorsey is in his 10th year as the Packers' director of college scouting. On Saturday, there's a chance the Packers could be selecting a linebacker from his alma mater.
Cody Brown was a big-play machine during his two-plus seasons as a starting defensive end for the Huskies. During his senior season, he piled up 11 sacks, 16 tackles for losses, five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and eight breakups.
Combined with superb production in 2007 (7.5 sacks, 16.5 tackles for losses) and a strong 2006 until he broke an arm at midseason, Brown tallied 23 sacks and 40 tackles for losses in 33 starts.
"We've got a lot of coaches who pretty much know their whole coaching staff over there," Brown told Packer Report on Saturday. "I've talked to them a lot. We've got a guy who went here a while back (Dorsey). I talked to him once. I talked to them a lot when I was at the Combine."
Brown's penchant for getting to the quarterback is just what the Packers need in their new 3-4 defense. Aaron Kampman will be one of the starting outside linebackers, and the Packers could use a playmaker to put opposite him. If the Packers don't take one of the elite hybrid pass-rushing linebackers in the first round, Brown or Virginia's Clint Sintim (Read our exclusive on Sintim) could be the target in the second.
The 6-foot-2, 244-pound Brown doesn't have the bulk to play defensive end like he did in college, but he's got the short-distance speed, explosion and strength to be a force as an outside linebacker. Brown said the "Bandit" position he played for the Huskies is similar to the role of a 3-4 outside linebacker.
One thing working in Brown's favor is he's had daily battles with one of the elite offensive tackles in the draft. UConn left tackle William Beatty, a superb pass blocker, figures to go late in the first round or early in the second.
"It helped me out a lot," said Brown of battling Beatty, who came on strong as a senior. "It helped us both tremendously, I think. We're both competitive and we're both pretty athletes. It helped us to become better players. Going against him, he's the top left tackle in the Big East and then me, I'm like the top defensive end in the Big East."
Scouts like Brown's long arms, which will help him battle offensive tackles, and say he has plenty of upside. Brown's athletic passion was basketball until he began playing football during his junior year of high school in Coral Springs, Fla.
Because of his late start, he wasn't hotly recruited coming out of high school. In fact, Brown didn't even begin to think about the NFL until after his standout junior season.
"I was just playing to help the team get better and win games," he said. "I never thought about the next level. I was just thinking that I was playing in college and that's good enough for me. But after my junior year, I seen that it was a possibility, so it made me work even harder."
Now, Brown is just days away from hearing his name called by Commissioner Roger Goodell. It will be a dream come true for Brown, whose mom is a minister and caterer and dad just retired from a coal line. He will spend his Saturday watching the draft with them.
"The NFL is where I want to be," Brown told reporters at the Scouting Combine, "not only because I love the game but I want to be able to take care of my family now, too, like they took care of me growing up."
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Bill also is giving Facebook and Twitter a try. Find him on Twitter at twitter.com/packerreport and Facebook.