Although Baron Browning may not be a name you’ve heard often when discussing the top linebackers in the 2021 NFL draft, he has the potential to be a star in the NFL. While Browning hasn’t caused as much of a stir as other prospects so far this offseason, he is certainly one of the players that could sneak into the first round of the NFL draft especially after the combine. The Ohio State linebacker is a physical monster that has the tools to be great at the next level. Browning’s football IQ is off the charts, and his versatility is certainly something that pairs well with almost any NFL team. While Browning’s stats may not be eye-boggling, his impact on the field goes far beyond the stat sheet. Teams will be watching him closely at the combine, eager to see what the linebacker brings to the table athletic-wise.
Baron Browning Stats And Measurables:
College: Ohio State
Weight: 240 lbs
2019 Stats: 11 Games/26 Solo/43 TOTAL/11 TFL/5 Sacks
2020 Stats: 7 Games/20 Solo/29 TOTAL/3 TFL/1 Sack
1. Browning might have the highest football IQ of any linebacker we’ve seen in years. His instincts and ability to see the whole field allowing him to be in the right place at the right time often. When he drops back into coverage, Browning reads the quarterback well and is usually able to find his number one option and close him off before the ball is thrown. Against the run, Browning is usually in the correct gap and is able to wreak havoc in the backfield because of it. 2. In coverage, Browning is phenomenal at both man to man and zone. He is able to lock down most tight ends and running backs as well as the occasional receiver in man coverage. Even though at Ohio State Browning was asked to play zone coverage on most plays, when he was matched up in man to man he did well. When in zone, Browning was almost never caught out of position. This is mainly because he makes the right read almost every play and is able to move around very well due to his outstanding athleticism. 3. Browning’s athleticism is another addition to his game that has made him a top prospect this year. Browning is very big at 240 pounds, yet he is able to move quicker than a lot of safeties. Coming out of high school he ran a 4.56 40 yard dash, which shouldn’t be far off of what his time will be at the combine because he has only gotten more athletic during his time at Ohio State. Athleticism is key in Browning’s game, as it allows him to be one of the most versatile players in this draft. When he is blitzing, he gets to the quarterback with prowess. Almost every time Browning blitzed he affected the play positively for Ohio State. When he is dropped back into coverage, Browning seemingly can cover the whole field, as he is able to move around so quickly. Versatility in general is a trait that many NFL teams are looking for, and Browning’s athleticism helps give him this trait.
1. While Browning does have incredible instincts, he does need to work on his play recognition. His pre-snap awareness limits his ability to read the play before it happens. He is incredible at reading and reacting, however when it comes to reading an offense pre-snap he struggles. There are times when Browning is beaten the same exact way twice in a game when it is a situation where he should know what is coming based on the look the offense gives him. 2. Another thing that Browning can improve upon is his hesitations before trying to make a play. Sometimes he will be in a perfect position to break on the ball, but he hesitates until it’s too late and he is in a bad spot. A lot of Browning’s mistakes come when he waits for the play to come to him which is something NFL teams will make sure he works on.
Overall, Baron Browning could be one of the more exciting players in the 2021 NFL draft class with his combination of size, athleticism, and IQ. Although he most certainly is not perfect, he has the tools to become an elite linebacker. After the combine where Browning should be able to put on a show, he could potentially be a first-round pick, for good reason. If his flaws are correctly addressed, Browning’s potential is through the roof. When draft day does come around, whichever team selects him will be happy with the production he provides.