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2017 UDFA Reports: West Virginia DL Christian Brown

The draft is over but we’re not finished breaking down their prospects just yet. While we had a scouting report on every non-long snapper drafted, we didn’t write one on most of the Pittsburgh Steelers undrafted free agents. So we’ll be covering those names over the next several weeks.

The last of the original UDFAs the team signed following the draft. West Virginia DE Christian Brown.

Christian Brown/DL West Virginia – 6’2/1 303

The Good

– Built well, big lower half he derives power from
– Strong at the POA, tough to move when playing with good technique
– Active hands, works hard not to get stuck on blocks in run and pass game
– Has adaquate swim and push/pull as a pass rusher
– Has balance to defeat blocks and does good job of staying on his feet
– Versatile and experience all over the front in 3 and 4 down schemes
– Good IQ, gets his hands up to disrupt throwing lanes
– Played in complicated defense that is relatively similar to the Steelers

The Bad

– Tweener, lacks height and probably length to play DE, normal weight to play NT
– Below average athlete in testing and on tape
– Limited pass rusher who generally wins too late in the pass rush
– Needs to show more snap-to-snap consistency against the run, hands and pad level can be too high, causing him to get washed
– Decent motor but must show fanatical effort

Bio

– Career: 86 tackles, 11 TFL 4 sacks, 3 PDs
– 2016: 34 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 PDs
– Suffered foot injury four games into 2013, missing rest of the year
– Ran 5.39 40, 34 reps on the bar, 26 inch vert, 8’5″ broad, 8.02 three cone

Tape Breakdown

Brown is the last prospect we’re looking at from the UDFA crop – we will profile newly signed QB Bart Houston soon – but unfortunately, he isn’t the best. That doesn’t mean he’s awful though and there’s a couple things I do like. He’s built like Javon Hargrave; on the shorter side, stocky, with a bubble butt. Holds the POA well when he plays with proper pad level. NT in this clip, the center falling to the ground.

Though he is far from a great pass rusher, he uses his hands well and works hard not to get stuck on his blocks. Sometimes, WVU would go with a three man pass rush or using Brown as just a contain guy, making pressure almost impossible, but I’ve seen him use his hands well to defeat blocks. Good push/pull here. RDE in the following two clips.

Brown does need to avoid playing too high and getting out-leveraged. Has to keep his hands down, which shouldn’t be a problem for a shorter defensive linemen. So it sucks when you see him get pushed around like this.

Based on their college tape alone, I like Brown more than I did the other UDFA defensive linemen, Nelson Adams. Finding Brown’s position could be tougher and I think he winds up as a nose tackle, unless the numbers demand him playing end. I haven’t done the math. He’s a little light on the scale to play in the middle but his body type and strength suggests that’s his best role. Could be a spot on the practice squad for him if he plays really well.

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