NFC West Underachiever: Levi Brown

October, 21, 2009
10/21/09
11:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Cardinals shouldn't have serious issues in pass protection at right tackle after using the fifth pick in the 2007 draft for Levi Brown. They regularly do, of course, and that qualifies Brown for inclusion in ESPN.com's package featuring one underachieving player from each division.
 
 Christian Petersen/Getty Images
 Problems with his technique have hampered Arizona’s Levi Brown.


Brown seemed to improve last season, only to take a step backward early in 2009.

"He has excellent size with long arms and good strength," Scouts Inc. wrote heading into this season. "He has adequate balance and body control in the run game. His foot quickness in pass protection is good. He has some problems with quick, change-of-direction rushers who can work back inside. He will have some trouble finishing when he plays upright or gets caught leaning, but he showed improvement in his overall technique."

Brown's struggles in the season opener played a significant role in the Cardinals' defeat to the 49ers. Brown had more problems against the Colts before allowing two sacks during an otherwise impressive Cardinals performance Sunday in Seattle. Coach Ken Whisenhunt singled out both Cardinals tackles for technique problems in the opener. He praised left tackle Mike Gandy's improved technique against the Seahawks during a radio interview Monday. No mention of Brown.

Brown still has time to develop. He's 25 years old and talented. Teams picking ahead of Arizona fared better (Joe Thomas, Calvin Johnson) and worse (JaMarcus Russell, Gaines Adams). The most familiar knock on Brown -- that the Cardinals should have drafted Adrian Peterson instead -- ignores the fact that the team had given a $7 million signing bonus to Edgerrin James a year earlier. Drafting a talented offensive tackle is almost never a bad idea. Brown can still make it a good one for Arizona if he becomes more consistent with his technique.

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