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Anonymous scouts call Bengals fifth round pick Andrew Brown an “enigma”

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The Bengals got good value by landing Andrew Brown in Round 5, but there’s concern as to what he exactly is as a pro.

NCAA Football: Virginia at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals love having versatility in the trenches, and Andrew Brown could provide that on defense.

The Bengals used the 158th overall pick to take the Virginia Cavaliers defensive lineman. Ironically, it was a pick part of the offensive trenches, as it was the mid-round pick swap between the Bengals and Bills that was part of the Cordy Glenn trade.

The Bengals were expected to take a defensive tackle sometime on Day 3 with Geno Atkins set to hit free agency next year. Pat Sims is still a free agent, and Andrew Billings hasn’t proven he can be a reliable contributor, while Ryan Glasgow has done well but only in limited playing time.

As for Brown, the 6’3”, 296-pounder recorded 26.5 tackles for a loss and 10.5 sacks in four years at Virginia. He also batted down four passes, recovered a fumble and forced one.

The problem with Brown is he was used in a variety of ways in college, and it’s unclear what his best NFL role would be. He looks like a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense, so perhaps he’ll be backing up Atkins as a rookie.

As you know by now, Bob McGinn speaks with scouts, personnel directors, NFL executives and coaches every year about the top prospects in each NFL Draft. That allows him to get an idea of how the NFL views various college players, including Brown.

While the Bengals got Brown in Round 5, McGinn had given him a Round 3-4 grade going into the draft. However, scouts weren’t quite sure what Brown would be in the pros.

14. ANDREW BROWN, Virginia (6-3 ½, 292, 5.02, 3-4): Gatorade National Player of the Year in 2013. “Kind of an enigma,” said one scout. “He’s quick and he’s strong and he picks his spots. Looks good. Seldom finishes.” Two-year starter with 94 tackles (26 ½ for loss) and 10 1/2 sacks. Long history of injury. “They played him at end but he’ll have to transition inside,” another scout said. “When he did that at the Senior Bowl he looked pretty damn good.” From Chesapeake, Va. “Strong hands versus tight ends but struggles against bigger bodies,” said a third scout. “He’s better working edges. Five-star recruit who never lived up to the billing. He’s got long arms (34 ½).”

While Brown has talent, he’s far from being a lock to make the 53-man roster. The Bengals already have Atkins, Billings, Glasgow and Chris Baker having a leg up on defensive tackle spots. There’s also defensive end Michael Johnson, who was actually more effective as an interior pass rusher in 2017, lessening the need for an extra defensive tackle.