Michigan's Stevie Brown could be late-round pick in NFL draft
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
A month ago, Stevie Brown looked like a long shot to get drafted. He played out of position as a senior, didn’t get invited to the NFL combine and didn’t play in any postseason all-star games.
But with a strong showing at Michigan’s pro day earlier this month, Brown helped his stock enough that he might sneak into the later rounds.
He ran the 40-yard dash in about 4.5 seconds (depending on which scout you ask) and did well enough in position drills that two teams - the Oakland Raiders on April 11 and Cincinnati Bengals on April 14 - already have plans to bring him in for a private workout.
“I think when I didn’t get the combine invite, it hurt a little bit but it was just something that made me work harder whenever I was out training,” Brown said. “It just made me have to do that much better at my pro day, which I thought I did well.”
Brown said he talked to one NFL assistant coach Monday who suggested something that might have been in the back of his mind all along - that he slipped through the cracks playing out of position.
A safety his first three years at Michigan, Brown moved to outside linebacker last year after an up-and-down junior season at new defensive coordinator Greg Robinson’s request.
He led Michigan with 80 tackles, had one interception and was generally one of the bright spots on a unit that severely underperformed. But at a bulked-up 212 pounds and a shade under 6-foot, no team considers him a linebacker in the NFL.
Still, Brown said the position change was a positive in the long run.
“It showed that I can take on blocks, showed that I can get down in the box if I need to,” Brown said. “If they want to drop a safety in the box, it shows I can blitz. I led the team in tackles so obviously it showed that I can tackle, and tackling in space as well. It showed I had a lot of versatility.”
After spending most of January and February training at Perfect Competition in Davie, Fla., Brown is back on campus now working out with some of Michigan’s other draft hopefuls. Defensive end Brandon Graham is a projected first-round pick, cornerback Donovan Warren should go in the middle rounds, and running back Brandon Minor and punter Zoltan Mesko are potential late-round choices.
Brown said he expects to hear his name called sometime during the April 22-24 NFL draft, but he’s not consumed by speculation where he'll go.
“It’s like, you hear one thing the TV’s saying, you hear some other stuff that some teams are saying, but you never know until the day of the draft what’s actually going to happen,” Brown said. “It’s kind of one of those patient games you got to have right now. It’s hard waiting and just wondering.”
Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.