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Colts sign a 2009 draft crush of mine

The Indy Star reports that the Colts have claimed Andre Brown off waivers from Denver. Brown was a 4th round pick of the Giants in 2009, expected to fill Derrick Ward’s shoes until rupturing his achilles tendon in training camp, costing him his rookie season. Brown landed in Denver where he’s been used sparingly, but seems to be a prospect of interest for the Denver FO. He was one of two players cut Saturday in order for the Broncos to add defensive depth from their practice squad, but they reportedly had great interest in bringing him back onto the roster relatively soon (shades of Justin Forsett).

In college Brown was a secondary back in a committee backfield his first 3 years with at least 650 total yards, 4 TDs and 4.7 YPC in all 3 seasons. As the lead back his senior year Brown broke 1,000 total yards (767 rushing, 309 receiving) and scored 9 TDs. Despite being a big back at 6’0″ 225lbs, Brown was a legitimate receiving threat catching 70 passes for 631 yards at North Carolina State.

Leading up to the draft his size speed combo, 4.49 40 at 225lbs, and inside running skills were the usual selling points cited for him, but high praise for his hands and pass blocking skills along with a reputation as a quiet but smart and hardworking player are what marked him as a favorite of mine.

NFLDraftScout’s report on Brown included these very promising assessments.

Football Sense: Brown has really bought into the program academically, earning honors for his work in the class room. He has good field vision and took a quick grasp of the play book when the new staff took over a few years ago. He has good football instincts, needing only normal reps to learn. He’s a very instinctive runner who has good field vision and appears capable of handling the game’s mental aspect.

Work Habits: Brown is a hard worker and one look at his muscular body is evidence that he is a willing participant in the training room. He will do more than what the coaches ask and likes his silent leader by example role. He accepted his role of splitting time with other running backs, thanks to his team-first attitude. He’s a good worker in the weight room, but also excels at applying himself on the playing field.

Receiving Skills: Brown is just starting to develop as a receiver, showing good hands to secure the ball outside his frame. Helooks the ball in nicely over his outside shoulder. He has receiver quality hands and despite hip stiffness, he is effective scooping for low throws.

Blocking Ability: Brown is a willing blocker who is an efficient blitz pick-up blocker. He will make an effort, will cut block in pass protection and has power to block, but fails to generate good hip snap or mirror to get out on the edge in pass protection. He gets his hands up quick enough to jolt working in-line and is best served blocking in the backfield than in the second level (not good at angling).

A big strong runner with significant skills in the passing game and high marks for character is the kind of guy that gets me excited when Indy gets their hands on him. His history through college to the combine reads very much like Joseph Addai’s. An unheralded back who ran well and showed great potential as a blocker/receiver lights up the combine drills. Brown is significantly bigger than Addai and had a longer stretch of production in college, but wasn’t as highly regarded athletically as Addai leading to him being projected and drafted lower.

Is Brown likely to make an impact? No, barring the devastating possibility that Addai’s injury will keep him out for a long period of time, but Brown is a back with all the right traits to make an impact in Indy’s offense, who hasn’t gotten a good look at the NFL level yet. Plus he returned a few kickoffs at NC St. so maybe they can throw him out there. If no one is going to block on STs, might as well have a power-back returning kicks.

Jump for two youtube videos of Brown via Coltsfan723