The Bengals have now gone defense five times in their first seven picks. And for the first time since 1990 and the second time in franchise history, they drafted a Virginia Cavalier.
With the 158th overall pick, the Bengals have selected defensive tackle Andrew Brown.
Brown was the big defensive end (5-technique) in Virginia’s defense, but his skill set and size fits that of a 3-technique in the NFL, and that’s exactly where the Bengals should play him.
What Brown brings to the Bengals
True penetrating ability: For what has seemed like forever, the Bengals have had Geno Atkins and no other presence as a pass rusher inside at defensive tackle. Brown is at his best as a 1-gap penetrator who uses burst and flexibility to get off the ball and dip under guards.
Similar to how Jessie Bates III brings a fresh skill set to the Bengals safeties in the form of deep coverage ability, Brown brings an attacking mentality at the defensive tackle position, which only Atkins had on the roster.
Length and quickness: In high school, Brown played offensive tackle and his 81 1⁄2” wingspan and 34 1⁄2” arm length fits the description of an edge protector. Brown has long arms and violent hands that can give guards with shorter arms fits to go along with above average speed and flexibility. He found out that he likes pressuring quarterbacks more than protecting them, and he has the physical traits to do it well.
Understanding the pick
Pressure on depth: With Brown in the fold, the Bengals now have five defensive tackles and 10 defensive lineman with a legitimate shot to make the roster. Odds are they’ll keep only nine, so the addition of Brown likely means players like Ryan Glasgow and maybe even Andrew Billings are on the hot seat. The final spot may come down to one of those two.
Backfield production: Brown doesn’t just create disruption in the backfield, he finishes plays behind the line plenty. In the last two seasons, Brown has accumulated 33 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. That was a little over 17% of Virginia’s total tackles for loss and sacks.
When Virginia made impact plays, it was oftentimes Brown’s doing. That kind of production typically translates to the next level, and is production that only a few Bengals pass-rushers provided last season. Brown gives them a boost here as well.
Character and value: Highly-regarded with a great attitude for the game, Brown fits the mold with other Bengals draft picks in this class and the middle of the fifth round was right around where Brown was expected to go off the board.
Brown joins Sam Hubbard as the newest pieces to an already strong defensive line and can compete for an opportunity to get on the field in sub-packages and provide a boost to the pass-rush.