Steelers 2013 Draft – 6th Round Pick – WR Justin Brown – Breakdown & Grade

The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Oklahoma wide receiver Justin Brown in the sixth-round of the 2013 NFL draft and below is my breakdown and grade of the pick.

Measurables: Combine Invite: No, Height: 6031, Weight: 207, 40 Yrd Dash: 4.60, 20 Yrd Dash: 2.65, 10 Yrd Dash: 1.55, 225 Lb. Bench Reps: 08, Vertical Jump: 30 1/2, Broad Jump: 09\’09”, 20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.31, 3-Cone Drill: 6.96

Breakdown: Brown is a very long wide receiver and very raw. In the two games that I watched he lined up out wide exclusively on right side and usually on the numbers or just outside of them.

While Brown has a long stride, his 4.6 speed shows up on tape as he is not a player that will take the top off of coverages or consistently deliver explosive plays. You can see this in his stats as he only registered 12.0 yards per catch on 73 catches.

As far as Brown\’s route running goes, the best way to describe it is clunky. He doesn\’t look smooth off of the line of scrimmage or out of his breaks, and often times rounds them off at that top. Against off coverage, he seems to make most of his catches via shallow crossing routes over the middle or via outs or comebacks near the sideline. I did observe an occasional back shoulder catch, but just a few. I like his body control near the sidelines as he adjust well to balls behind him or off target. He does appear to be able to use his body to shield well on the quick slants.

Brown is not afraid to go over the middle to make the big catch, but never seems to be able to turn those up the field for additional yardage. Against press coverage, Brown is physical when trying to get separation, but his lack of explosiveness and poor footwork never allow for him to get much, if any, separation. On some quick throws, Brown isn\’t out of his routes quick enough at the top of them to give himself a good enough chance to make the catch. More than a few times I saw him being late getting his head around when the ball was on him.

Brown appears to have strong hands and he is no doubt a big target. He will surprise with a great one-handed catch, but he has to because defenders are usually always right on top of him when the ball arrives. Despite his size, Brown does not appear to have a huge catch radius and from the games that I saw, and he never really wowed with his receptions.

Brown is a willing blocker, a good stalker, and physical in the run game. I hate to say it, but it is the best part of his game. Even as good as he is at blocking, he doesn\’t go all-in on every blocking opportunity.

As far as stats go, four of Brown\’s five receiving touchdowns came inside the red zone and only 10 of his 73 catches came on third down. Brown was targeted a total of 117 times and caught 61.5% of the passes thrown his way. That was the lowest catch percentage on his team of the players targeted more than 40 times.  He only had three 100 yard receiving games last season and in nine out of 13 games he was held under 74 yards receiving.

Brown returned 22 punts for 299 yards and a touchdown last season, but his lack of speed hampers him in that part of his game.

Grade & Summation: New wide receivers coach Richard Mann really has his work cut out for him with Brown. You can\’t teach speed and Brown lacks it. I came away from the two games that I watched of Brown very unimpressed, outside of his ability to block. After Brown was selected only four more receivers were drafted as the talent pool was drained outside of the troublesome Da\’Rick Rogers. With the position that drained, I feel like the Steelers should have addressed another position instead and hoped that Brown went undrafted if they were that in love with him. Personally, I would be shocked if Brown makes the Steelers 53 man roster based on what I have seen of him and I really think that he will have a tough time making the practice squad as well. He is a big receiver and that is it. Upside? Yes, he has it as he is already at the floor. Unless he tapes a cheetah to his back, his ceiling is very low. I grade this pick a D plus and that is only because he blocks well.

Game Links: Oklahoma StateIowa State

  • Matt Lipner

    This was by far my least favorite pick. Like Dave said, with the crop of WRs being thoroughly picked through by the mid-6th round, why not go with one of the ILB, OL, or DL prospects?

  • Mike.H

    Ouch… Now I know why good WR’s are so hard to find based on Dave’s in depth analysis. Thank you for the ed-ju-ca-tion, Ed-di-fi-ca-tion. 🙂

  • David Edward

    Agreed. I rated the Brown pick as their worst too. If you do the math… AB, Sanders, Cotchery, and Wheaton will be on the 53man barring injury…Burress is the favorite to be the 5th, but Gilreath brings speed and KR ability and Moye brings height and catch radius…so that’s 3 guys for one spot right there. I actually like UDFA Reggie Dunn better than Brown…he is a burner who has a shot to stick as a returner. So, not sure how Brown fits unless there are some injuries. Best shot for him is to stick on PS and then compete for a spot next year when Sanders, Burress, and Cotchery may be gone.

  • hergieburbur

    Dave sees the same things I do in him. He should have been a UDFA.

  • dgh57

    A casualty of the 1st cut down day in the pre season!!!

    The Steelers scouts had to of seen the same thing as is written above!! A head
    scratcher of a pick, indeed!

    I’m convinced this name was pulled out of a hat!

    I’m kidding! I’ll give him a break until I see him play!!

  • Cody Younkin

    I may be wrong but wasn’t Da’Rick Rodgers still available??

  • zyzak

    Apparently Coach Mann disagrees see Bouchette’s column today

  • NW86

    Hey you never know, the Steelers brass obviously saw something in him. And remember the last time the Steelers drafted WR-Brown in the 6th round? That one worked out pretty decent.

  • grw1960

    WRs Not really picked over. The NFL com and NFL draft scout prospect listings had WR Justin Brown Near the 60th best WR available in this draft. There were at least 2o WRs with better grades that Justin Browns. Including WR Jaron Brown from Clemson at 6’3″ 204 LBs, ran a 4.42 at pro day. He signed with the cardinals as a UFDA and Tyrone Goard, Corey Fuller just to name a few . WR Justin Brown could have been signed as a UDFA. a wasted pick in my opinion.

  • grw1960

    I really hope Mann is better at training them than he is at picking them.

  • dgh57

    Now that I totally agree with!

  • dgh57

    We tend to have those wasted draft picks occasionally! Just look at the 2008 Draft! Hindsight always tells all as it will with this pick!

  • JohnnyV1

    Agree, does not look like a good pick. Hope I’m wrong.

  • TsarPepe

    I liked the reference to the iPhone commercial! Let’s tape a cheetah to his back!

  • TsarPepe

    Yes, went undrafted. For all we know, he was not on the Steelers board at all (and on most other teams’ as well).

  • steeltown

    My least favorite pick..

    I have a feeling he might make the practice squad… I personally think Moye has more upside and is the better ‘big bodied WR’ on roster, but maybe im wrong, maybe he cant block or has had some drops in practice.

    For me, It really comes down to Burress, Gilreath and J.Brown.. Gilreath and Brown can play special teams, but they are also both eligible for the PS, its tough to gauge, I guess if Burress has a fantastic preseason he might be the guy (with Brown and Gilreath moved to the PS) Lets not forget that E.Sanders & Stephens-Howling will most likely return kicks

  • Bill Bob

    This is there worst pick of the draft he has noting going for him , one year on the practice squad then cut.This is a pick by new receiver coach Mann he should know you can’t teach speed. What bothers me is he was there first pick of the sixth round they had a higher grade on him then Vince Williams.other recievers still on the board were Brice Butler, Arron Mellette , Marquess Wilson. They could have pick another Safety, Bacardi Rambo was on the board.

  • Ahmad

    Well our new WR’s coach Richard Mann is all about technique so I’m hoping with good coaching, Brown can turn into something.

  • It’s not a wasted pick if the Steelers see something in him and wanted to make sure they secure his services.

  • charles

    Anybody remember John Stallworth?

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Please note the blocking skills. If he can make the occasional tough catch they may keep him around just for the blocking if they wish to get a great power rushing kinda run-first thing happening. Blocking TE’s, H-Backs, WR’s that can block. I like what they are thinking.
    Why? Because the beginning of last year, they were doing well passing most of the time, with great 3rd down conversions, but lacking only in the red-zone TD’s. When Ben got hurt, while being touted as MVP by some, it went down hill. So just imagine what a good running game does, and especially how it opens up the passing game.
    Maybe Brown becomes a red zone target eventually. As usual, I hope it works out. 41 years cheering here.

  • mokhkw

    Bills signed him as an UDFA

  • mokhkw

    Bengals fans seemed really happy that we choose Brown and not Cobi Hamilton, who went to them 11 Picks later. They’re similar WR types, but Hamilton was rated in the Top 15 WRs on most boards.

  • dgh57

    I do! He’s a member of a quartet that includes Swan, Webster, Lambert and who are all in the HOF!! The famous ’74 draft that probably will never be repeated!! That was on top of Bradshaw, Harris and “MEAN” Joe Green! Ah, I miss those days!!!

  • $19122620

    Yeah, I was not thrilled about the pick either, and am with you, in that I wished they would have addressed another position or even another WR altogether. To be honest, I would rather have taken my chances with Da’Rick Rogers. I mean if Brown has a very slim chance at making the team, or even the PS, then Rogers would have been a much better pick, IMO, despite some of the past history concerns. I would rather use that spot on him, and hope his expressed remorse was genuine and who has a solid chance at making the team than to draft a guy that likely won’t.

  • charles

    Does Justin Brown seem to have the same skill sets?

  • LucasY59

    Like many others Brown is my least favorite pick, I wasn’t happy with the Landry Jones pick either, but at least it made some sense. Brown is a UDFA at best, and like Dave Bryan said might not even make the practice squad. I’m not sure he will make it past the first cut.

    If all Brown is good for is blocking, then getting a TE like Michael Williams from Alabama would’ve been a better pick IMO. I guarantee Williams is a better blocker than Brown and would also have a better chance of actually making the roster (he would probably be able to beat out D. Johnson maybe even Paulsen or Spaeth?) also with Miller being Injured TE should’ve had at least 1 pick or UDFA used to bring someone in IMO (Williams was drafted with the 5th pick in the 7th rd by the Lions)

    If they really wanted a big WR I think Aaron Mellette from Elon (small school player) was just as good of a candidate, still big 6’2″ 216#s but is a much better receiving threat (97 catches 1398 yds 18 TDs sr year, 113 catches 1639 yds 12 TDs jr yr, and 86 catches, 1100 yds, 12 TDs soph yr) a little bit faster 4.54 40, and did well at the Senior Bowl (Brown wasn’t even invited) (Mellette was drafted with the 32nd pick in the 7th rd by the Ravens)

  • dgh57

    Physically I would say he compares with Stalworth in that they are about the same size but I think that’s where the comparisons stops! J. Brown is way too raw to evaluate at this time! Until I see him play I see him having a hard time making the team. But you never know with the right coaching he could turn into something that’s why I always reserve judgement until he’s given a chance to prove himself. So it’s too early to say if he seems to have Stallworth skill sets.