2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Baron Browningby Mason Thompson January 23, 2021 7 comments
Baron Browning is one of the many pro-ready prospects at the linebacker position for the Buckeyes. He has played in many roles during his time at Ohio State, yet he couldn’t grasp ahold of one spot specifically. In a linebacker class that has received varying opinions, Browning could be a steal on day two or potentially day three.
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Name: Baron Browning
School: Ohio State
Weight: 248 lbs
Browning is a fundamentally sound tackler. He wraps up and can finish the tackle and bring the ball-carrier to the ground. Browning is an aggressive tackler that has a great closing burst to help him make up ground.
Sideline-to-Sideline Ability (9/10)
Browning is one of the better linebackers in the class in this regard. He has elite speed. Browning can close quickly on a ball or ball-carrier and make a play. His athleticism is one of his best traits overall, and it certainly shows up in the film.
While Browning’s athleticism is off the charts, his mental side of the game is lacking. Browning is at his best when he can read and react, but he’s not one to diagnose a play before it happens.
Browning played at all three linebacker spots for the Buckeyes. He was at his best as a WILL or SAM linebacker but had time as the MIKE as well. Browning can be used as a run-stuffer, coverage linebacker, or speed rusher off the edge.
Browning is quick to try and make a play, but it can come back to bite him. He will go to the wrong holes when the running back has the ball, and the run will gash the defense. He’ll occasionally go into the wrong zone in coverage, and a big play will occur because of it.
Block Shedding (8.25/10)
As a speed rusher on the edge, Browning makes easy work of the tackle tasked with blocking him. In the run game, he can fight off a blocker and find the running back in the hole, and make an easy tackle.
Short-Area Quickness (9.25/10)
Browning is a great athlete that can make up ground quickly. He was tasked with covering Travis Etienne, among several others during his time for Ohio State, and did a good job.
He was primarily tasked with covering running backs and tight ends. Browning could cover some slot receivers as well, but the more dynamic the player, the more difficult it was for Browning to cover. He can be used in both man and zone coverage but can easily be fooled on route combinations. His lack of awareness in these situations drastically hurts him.
Football IQ (8/10)
As said earlier, Browning was used at all three linebacker spots at Ohio State. It is nice to see him being cross-trained at those spots, but it would be nice to see him at least stick and have started at one, specifically.
Competitive Toughness (5/5)
Browning was willing to play any position if it meant he was on the field. He could be seen chasing down a runner on a play halfway across the field. In 2019, while dealing with a minor groin injury, Browning would be in the weight room every morning at six, according to his former Ohio State teammate and Baltimore Ravens linebacker, Malik Harrison.
Browning had a minor groin injury in 2019. He also missed time dealing with Covid in 2020.
Browning is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft class. He has a ton of athletic ability but still needs to focus more on the mental capabilities that come with playing linebacker and reading most of the field. He fits in most systems and can play in a variety of different roles, and will be a three-down player in the NFL. His strengths are his athletic ability and tackling. He is a solid coverage linebacker as well. He couldn’t find a specific role at one of the linebacker spots for the Buckeyes. That, paired with his inconsistencies on the field and lack of awareness in some circumstances, could cause his draft stock to plummet. There are some murmurs of some character concerns as well.
Final Grade (83.5/100): Mid-Second Round
Player Comparison: Myles Jack