Friday, July 31, 2015

Draft profile: UConn RB Donald Brown

If you're convinced the Eagles are going to take a running back early in this weekend's draft, but aren't sure whether Georgia's Knowshon Moreno will be there at No. 21, one name to keep in mind is Donald Brown.

Draft profile: UConn RB Donald Brown

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If you're convinced the Eagles are going to take a running back early in this weekend's draft, but aren't sure whether Georgia's Knowshon Moreno will be there at No. 21, one name to keep in mind is Donald Brown.

The UConn product and New Jersey native is widely considered among the top four running backs available.

The book on Brown is he doesn't stand out in any one specific area, but can do a lot of things well and is a high character guy.

At 5-foot-10, 210 pounds, Brown led the nation in rushing last season with 2,083 yards, to go along with 18 touchdowns. He ran a 4.51 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine.

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To get some insight on Brown's career at UConn, we called on Desmond Conner of the Hartford Courant.

Q: What are Brown's strengths that make him one of the top running back prospects on the board?

A: Well, one that was consistent and stood out all season was his strength, period. It took two to three guys to bring him down most of the time because of extra effort.  He's simply determined to be the best player he can be, which was also his mission going into the season. He led the country with an average of 160.2 yards per game. 'Nuff said.

Q: What areas of his game do you think concern NFL scouts and personnel guys?

A: My guess would be speed. He's not the fastest tailback in the draft, but there aren't many who have the combination of speed and power he does. If he doesn't run past you, he'll certainly juke or run over you to create space.

Q: Tell us about Brown's personality from having covered him. Is he good with the media?

A: He's a wonderful speaker, very thoughtful and true. He can be good with the media in light moments, but he's generally a reserved guy. If you ask him questions about himself, particularly if he's played well or was the star of the game, he becomes even more reserved. He does have a good sense of humor and a million dollar smile, but for the most part, he carries himself like a pro ready to go to work.

Q: What was his relationship like with coaches and teammates?

A: Nobody had to get on him about anything. Let me just say there isn't a football coach at UConn who doesn't point to Brown's picture - or name - and say 'this is what hard work looks like.' That's really the best description I can give I think.  

Q: What was Brown's signature moment at UConn?

A: I'm not sure this would be his signature moment, but it was certainly a sign of things to come for the season.

The date was Sept. 6, 2008. Dateline? Philly. It was one of the absolute worst days to play a football game. Winds and rain swept all over the Linc and darn near swept up everybody in it when UConn played Temple. Scoring points wasn't easy for anybody. The Owls had it in for UConn because they felt they got cheated out of a win the season before.

The teams went in to overtime tied at 6, two field goals per team. Temple gets the ball first in the OT and hits another field goal to go up 9-6. It's UConn's turn, and everyone knows who's getting the ball. I guess Donald wanted to get the game over right there and then because he took the feed and literally dragged three or four Owls the 7 yards UConn needed to seal a 12-9 win. It was an incredible run. It was all power. And, he ran over some people, too.

Q: Is there a story or anecdote you can share that readers might not know about Brown?

A: Oct. 4 in Chapel Hill, N.C. UConn lost 38-12. Donald ran for 161 yards in that game, but the team fell short in matching his effort. It was UConn's first loss of the season. I know I've never seen him more upset than in the interview room. He sat in a chair, looked straight ahead and answered the few questions asked of him in 10 words or less. I said to him, 'Man, you looked PO'd." He said, "I am. I don't like to lose."

Links, mocks, etc.

ESPN's Mel Kiper has the Eagles taking Brown with the 21st pick.

SI.com's Don Banks has the Cardinals selecting Brown at No. 31.

Scott Wright of draftcountdown.com has the Seahawks taking Brown in the second round, with the 37th pick overall.

NFL Network's Mike Mayock has Brown ranked as his third-best running back.

Steve Wyche of NFL.com has the Cardinals taking Brown at No. 31.

Chris Steuber of Scout.com also has the Cardinals taking Brown.

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Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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