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Scout's view: Brandon Browner

3/17/2014

On Friday, the New England Patriots agreed to a three-year deal with free-agent cornerback Brandon Browner.

Below is a scouting report after film study from over the weekend on Browner.

Alignment: In Seattle's unique system, Browner played exclusively on the right side of the defense. He was not used in the slot, rather matching up opposite of split out receivers.

Strengths: At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, Browner is perhaps the most imposing and physical cornerback in the NFL. He can swallow up wide receivers at the line of scrimmage with his length and power, while he can also be an impact tackler in the running game and open field. He has a large catch radius and sufficient ball skills. He can play press-man coverage and hold his own against split out tight ends, too.

Limitations: There are two concerns when it comes to Browner -- his speed and his lateral agility. He timed poorly coming out of college (in the 4.63 range) and is not the type of cornerback that you want in a foot race against a flying flanker. With a high-cut lower half, Browner can be stiff in his hips to change direction, making it difficult to stick with shifty wide receivers at the top of their routes. These limitations are neutralized when using Browner in a specific way, as Seattle did for the past three seasons -- relying heavily on him to use his size at the line of scrimmage and impede opposing wideouts’ routes before they could get downfield.

Patriots thoughts: When acquiring players, the question a front office typically asks itself is: How does he fit our system and scheme? Browner is an interesting case because he was previously dominant in a very particular system (a press-man and Cover 3 based scheme), though there isn’t a ton of recent exposure in him playing a wide variety of schemes. The Patriots will take advantage of his strengths as a cornerback, and while there have been some questions about transitioning him to a strong safety spot given his frame, the feeling here is Browner will stick at cornerback. He's less reactive and not as quick as Logan Ryan, Alfonzo Dennard or Kyle Arrington, but he has the physical tools to dominate an opponent in man coverage. He adds a different element to this secondary group that will be on display at the conclusion of his four-game suspension.