Born: 11th of April, 1987
Hometown: Atlantic Highlands, NJ
College: University of Connecticut
Draft: 1st round, 27th overall – 2009 (Indianapolis Colts)
Height: 5 feet 10 inches
Weight: 210 lbs.
40-yard Dash: 4.51 seconds
3 Cone Drill: 6.93 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.10 seconds
Vertical Jump: 41.5 inches
Broad Jump: 125.0 inches
Donald Brown is out of the University of Connecticut, where he was a full-time starter in his junior year and a part-time starter in his freshman and sophomore years. Connecticut is a system that has produced very impressive college RBs who have subsequently flamed out before establishing themselves in the NFL. While that stigma certainly did not seriously effect Brown’s draft stock, it may prove to haunt him in later seasons.
While Brown may have had the most yards in NCAA football, he was not the best in any single discipline of his position. He has good but not great power, good speed, good mobility, good agility, and great presence to fight through initial hits.
What really made Brown stand out from a draft perspective was the fact that he showed a proficiency as a receiver and blocker, in addition to his obvious skill carrying the football. Another factor that helped Brown’s draft stock was his excellent health record, suffering only one minor foot injury during his college career.
In Brown’s professional career, some new questions have been raised. While only rookie last year, Brown did not impress as a blocker, and suffered a major chest/shoulder injury which sidelined him for a number of games. Additionally, Brown managed only 25 yards per game despite receiving approximately 40-percent of the carries behind Addai over 11 games. Some of this can be attributed to the failure of some drives to gain multiple first downs, but some of it was also due to Brown’s boom or bust style.
Brown may not have the body build to bulk up much more to improve his power, but he showed a definite second-gear in his rookie season — breaking off numerous 10+ yard runs. His big play potential was tempered by the fact that he had difficulty powering through NFL-size defensive lines.
As a receiver, Brown flashed potential, averaging over 13 yards-per-reception, most of which were the result of extended runs after the catch. Donald Brown’s succeeded in situations where Manning would quickly look upfield to ease mid-level coverage only to dump the pass off to the RB, which is very encouraging. Questions surrounding the offensive line’s ability in the ground game may make this type of “extended” running play even more important to the offense’s continued success.