SS Stevie Brown, #27
New York Giants
Height: 5-11½ Weight: 221 Speed: 4.53
Notes: Two-year starter at the University of Michigan, moving from free safety to strong-side linebacker as a senior in the 3-3-5 front installed by Rich Rodriguez. Recorded 186 tackles, 11 pass breakups and four interceptions during his collegiate career. Was selected in the seventh round (251st overall) by the Oakland Raiders in the 2010 NFL draft. Was released on the final cutdown and signed to the practice squad, being elevated to the 53-man roster several weeks later. Saw action in 15 games, starting one, and notched 30 tackles and two pass breakups. Was released by new head coach Hue Jackson at the 53-man cutdown in ’11 and assigned on waivers to the Panthers, where he stayed three days. Was signed by the Colts two weeks later and recorded five special-teams tackles in the eight games in which he played for Indianapolis. Was signed by the Giants as a free agent on April 3, 2012 and moved into a starting role for 10-of-14 games in place of an injured Kenny Phillips, recording a career-best 69 tackles, eight pass breakups, seven interceptions (that he has returned for an NFL-best 259 yards), two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Positives: Is well-built with very good bulk for the position. Good eyes and anticipation playing the ball in front of him. Has soft hands and is a natural interceptor. Highly motivated achiever — very good work habits and preparation for the game. Good football intelligence — understands assignments and where he fits in the defense and is around the ball a lot. Has enough range to interchange and get over the top. Well-conditioned athlete. Outstanding football and personal character. Negotiates through traffic well in special-teams coverage.
Negatives: Can be more aggressive filling in run support — steps downhill too gingerly and is usually looking for a backside angle. Is a dragdown tackler and too much of a pile inspector who does not like to sacrifice his body in a scrum, taking inconsistent angles to the ball. Has limitations in man coverage — is late to transition out of his pedal and is outmatched against slot quickness. Can be outleveraged by elite speed on the back end (see Week 15 vs. Atlanta's Julio Jones).
Summary: A very durable, football-smart, ball-hawking, back-end safety who knows how to protect his body, but does not do too much in the run game, only flashing explosive striking ability and not showing up in the box the way one would expect of a 220-pounder. Has a flair for the big play and is nifty with the ball in his hands and has profiled as a defensive sparkplug in place of an injured Kenny Phillips, racking up seven interceptions in a breakout third season alongside veteran Antrel Rolle.