At the end of the first round of the NFL draft, Arthur Brown remains undrafted. While this was a possibility, most mock drafts definitely had Brown unavailable by this point. Yet going into Friday’s action, it remains uncertain where he will call home next fall.
How it happened: several teams looking to take linebackers didn’t – and that’s about the long and the short of it. Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones went a little later than expected at #17, but didn’t really change much. The NY Giants had an outside chance of taking a linebacker at #19 and didn’t, but this wasn’t entirely unexpected either. The big domino to fall was Chicago, who remains in search of a replacement for Brian Urlacher after choosing to go with Oregon guard Kyle Long.
With Manti Te’o, Alec Ogletree, and Brown all fighting to be taken in the last ten picks of the draft, no more suitors stepped forward. This was very surprising – you may be high on one or two of these players, but it’s difficult to imagine no one entertaining the idea of drafting any of the three in the first round. The Vikings owned the #23 and #25 picks, and do not have three linebackers that can be entrusted to start. This is a fact. Yet Minnesota opted to go with DT Sharrif Floyd of Florida and CB Xavier Rhodes of Florida State.
It appears that the run on defensive linemen early in the draft carried on downstream. The Green Bay Packers could desperately use a fast player like Brown for a defense that wasn’t great against the run and couldn’t cover anyone over the middle last year. Yet they also went with a lineman, taking DE Datone Jones from UCLA.
What was insane was New England traded their 29th pick to the Vikings for three Minnesota picks. Three. So you know Minnesota is planning something pick. Yet rather than take a linebacker to fill their huge hole at linebacker, they chose to pursue a replacement for Percy Harvin (traded to Seattle) in WR Cordarelle Patterson from Tennessee – a standout at the NFL Combine.
The problem for Brown, Te’o, and Ogletree was that there is now no rush for teams who desperately want one of them, but are indifferent as to which one. Obviously each brings a different skill set, but if you value Brown’s tackling and speed just as much as Te’o's strength. Some movement occurred at pick #30 when the Rams took Ogletree. However, Te’o and Brown remained on the board when the Ravens took Florida safety Matt Elam at #32.
Expect both linebackers to be picked up in the first half of the second round on Friday. Brown simply has too much talent to slip much farther, and Te’o is riding his second place finish in the Heisman race. Once one goes off the board, expect the other to follow within the next two to three slots – someone will trade up to take the other.