The Baltimore Ravens will be looking to upgrade their secondary this off-season. One name to keep an eye on is Sydney Brown from Illinois. Should the Ravens have interest, and when would they have to draft Sydney Brown?
Baltimore Ravens NFL Draft Profile: Sydney Brown, Safety, Illinois
Sydney Brown comes into the NFL with a lot of experience. He is a five-year starter for the Illini and has racked up over 3,000 snaps on defense. In total, he played 1,360 snaps in the box (43%), 747 snaps as a free safety (24%), and 768 snaps as a slot (24%), per PFF.
Brown has nine career pressures and 10 interceptions. Five of those pressures and six of those interceptions came in his breakout fifth year. Brown was invited to the Senior Bowl, and the NFL combine. Below you can see how he performed.
He is not tall, but Sydney Brown brings a lot to the table athletically. Brown has weight behind him, and is insanely explosive. If you see Brown in person you can tell that he takes pride in his workout routine, he is maxed out with his build.
How Sydney Brown projects in the NFL
The versatility is obviously a highlight of his game. He plays with ball awareness and shows off his explosiveness to break on the football. He also plays with wreckless abandon in the run game, and will never back down.
Still, some of his strenths come from that frenetic playing style, and they also come back to bite him. He has a 17.8% missed tackle rate, per PFF, and it never improved. A lot of that comes from being in on a bunch of tackles, but at the same time, you can see him flailing and falling off of players with poor attempts.
This can also be an issue as a deep safety, which is why Illinois put him in the box more often than not. It is tough to project his exact role because you want his physical presence in the box but it may be too small in the NFL. He has ball skills deep, but you may not want him to be the last line of defense. He may become a versatile third safety to start his career, and the slot snaps cannot be ignored.
NFL Comparison for Sydney Brown
One of the better NFL comparisons for Sydney Brown and his skill set would be Donte Whitner. They both hail from the Big 10, and both are a bit shoulder but bring enough girth and athletic abilities that you think they could work in the NFL.
They are both equally explosive, and while Whitner may be more well-regarded as a tackler at Ohio State, he also did lead with his shoulders too much and was not the wrap-up tackler. The same can be said for Brown.
Whitner also could jump around from free safety to the box, and slot, but mainly was a hard-hitting free safety. That is probably the best transition for Syndey Brown. If you are projecting the best outcome for Sydney Brown, a skill set like Donte Whitner's stands out.
Does Sydney Brown fit Baltimore Ravens in 2023 NFL Draft?
The Baltimore Ravens lost Chuck Clark, and while Kyle Hamilton will step into the starting role, the Ravens loved having three safeties on the field last season. Hamilton became an impact player as a box safety who could also move to the box, and even line up deep.
Now that he is in the starting safety role they could use someone like Sydney Brown, who has played all around the defensive back end. The question will be when Brown gets drafted. The Senior Bowl, as well as the NFL, combine boosted his stock from someone who may be drafted on day three, to someone who may be in the round two or three conversation.
At the right draft slot, the Baltimore Ravens could get Sydney Brown on the field next season, and could limit some of his issues by making him a specialized role player who can also play special teams.