INDIANAPOLIS — Could the draft stock of OTs Orlando Brown and Kolton Miller flip-flop after both surprised at the scouting combine but for different reasons?
Former Oklahoma behemoth Orlando Brown (6-foot-8, 360), the son of late Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens great Orlando "Zeus" Brown and one of the higher profile lineman in the draft, has struggled across the board in OT drills. Brown Jr. managed just 14 lifts of 225 pounds on the bench press and a molasses-like 5.85-second 40-yard dash.
Brown, who spent the past three seasons protecting Baker Mayfield’s blind side, owned his disappointing showing on the bench Friday. “I didn't stick to my breathing routine. That's the lowest I have ever done, and I'll redo it at my pro day. Keeping it real, it will be held against me. All my numbers will be held against me. As an offensive tackle, my numbers are going to be compared to other offensive tackles. That's just the reality of it."
And stacked next to Miller’s, the blind-side protector of another first-round QB prospect, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Brown’s numbers don’t compare favorably at all.
PFW draft expert Greg Gabriel had a first-round grade on the slow-footed Brown prior to the combine, whereas Miller was initially slotted in Round Three — though Gabriel points out that “he could higher than we have him rated.”
After the towering Miller (6-9, 310 pounds) set the combine broad jump record, skying 10’ 1” — surpassing Philadelphia Eagles’ 2013 first-rounder Lane Johnson (4th overall)’s 9’10” — and clocking an unofficial 4.90 40-yard dash, his rise up draft boards seems imminent.
“We'll see. We'll see the numbers I put up on Friday,” Miller said Thursday, adding that it’s nice to get some recognition and he hopes he’s able to continue building momentum.
Miller's verified athleticism surely will keep him on NFL club's LT radar. Brown, though, appears ticketed for the right side in the NFL, a fate he recently told PFW that he anticipated even prior to his rough week in Indianapolis.
Yet, being a right tackle-only, if that's in fact how Brown is now viewed by teams, isn't the drag it used to be for NFL blockers — at least not from a contract standpoint. Consider that Johnson received $35 million guaranteed in his five-year extension with the Eagles to shatter the previous record for the position. And last offseason, the trend continued with Rick Wagner landing a five-year, $47.5 million ($20.5 million guaranteed) and the Kansas City Chiefs' Mitchell Schwartz also clearing the $20 million promise threshold.
As the line continues to blur between the left and right side, where some of the game's best rushers including Von Miller, Khalil Mack and Justin Houston regularly reside, the NFL is looking for top athletes on both flanks. It means Brown has a lot of work to do as the pre-draft process continues, and even then, he probably will fit best with a club that prioritizes a quick-hitting pass attack.
It also means the teachers for Brown and most young O-linemen entering the NFL these days from spread offenses and two-point stances, will require patience and strong tutelage.
"There’s a theory that you need 5,000 reps before you are really ready," said New York Giants new GM and "hog mollie" enthusiast Dave Gettleman. "I don’t know if I subscribe to it, but that’s not just on the field it’s practice as well. It takes time. Think about all the positions on the field – what’s the most awkward? You think it’s natural for a 320-pound kid to back up and do this (pass blocking)? It’s really not natural. They want to come off and we teach
"It’s become more difficult, but when you evaluate hog mollies you have to be patient and you have to take your time so you look for the things that all the great ones can do. You have to look at all the basics. Does he play with a base? Can he roll his hips? Can he do this, can he do that? You’ll find those guys who are in two-points who can do that."