Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown finished second in the league this past year in both catches and receiving yardage, which just so happened to set a new franchise receiving record. So what led to small school guy such as Brown being passed over in 2010 by every team in the league until the Steelers selected him in the sixth-round with the 195th overall selection? Monday on the Dave Dameshek Football Program, cornerback Ike Taylor chimed in with his thoughts on the Central Michigan product.
“We all have some kind of flaws, ain’t nobody flawless, and his coming out of college was he was a hothead,” said Taylor of Brown. “So he was a bad case for a lot of teams. That’s why he dropped to like the fifth or sixth round, but as far as like talent wise, there’s no other talented receiver than Antonio Brown and you can just see.”
Brown certainly wasn’t without his share of warts coming out of college, but I can’t say that I remember any talk of character concerns being associated with him. Below is the short scouting report that NFL.com had on him prior to the draft.
Brown is an extremely productive receiver from a relatively smaller level football program that could use another year in college to continue to develop physically. He is undersized and will initially struggle with the physical aspects of the game at the next level. He generally has lined up out of the slot and would have trouble with his release against some of the physical cornerbacks at the next level if he lines up on the line of scrimmage. He is explosive off the line and will show a good burst out of his speed cuts but needs work on his hard cuts and underneath routes. He has decent hands but it looks like the ball gets big on him at times and he traps too many passes in his body.
Brown has a really nice combination of quickness and speed. Has been extremely productive during his college career. Shows very impressive initial quickness when exploding off the line. Displays good agility as a route-runner and with the ball after the catch.
Lacks size. Not tall and does not possess enough bulk at this time. Needs to add strength to more effectively beat press coverage and battled for the ball in the air. Route running skills could use some refinement. Needs to become more consistent catching the ball in a crowd.
After catching just 16 passes for 167 yard his rookie season, Brown really exploded onto the scene in his second season as he registered 69 catches for 1,108 yards. That season was set up by him having a fantastic training camp as he benefited greatly from Hines Ward and Emmanuel Sanders being slowed early on by injuries and rehab. That hard work and production resulted in him getting a new contract prior to the start of the 2012 season and Taylor talked about Brown’s work ethic on Monday.
“I just go against him everyday, see what he can do everyday,” said Taylor. “The young kid, regardless of how he got into the NFL, he’s a hard worker, a very hard worker. He wants to be the best.”
It’s easy to just look past players that are drafted in the later rounds, but as Brown and Kelvin Beachum have now shown us, heart and determination are two measurables that don’t have stats attached to them during the NFL combine and Pro Days.
With so many needs headed into the 2014 NFL Draft, hopefully the Steelers can find a few more late round gems such as Brown and Beachum.