We continue to get to know the Bengals’ 2018 draft class with the help of the SB Nation college football writers who covered their careers for the last few years.
Today, we’re joined by Caroline Darney, SB Nation’s Editor for NCAA Team Brands and a contributor at Streaking the Lawn. Darney was a big fan of new Bengals defensive tackle Andrew Brown during his time at Virginia. She’s also a Steelers fan (feel free to shame her for it in the comments) so she’s pretty mad that he’s coming to Cincinnati. (HAHAHA!)
Brown accumulated 94 tackles (26.5 for loss) and 10.5 sacks in four years at Virginia. He also had four batted passes, 1 forced fumble and 1 fumble recovery in the span of 34 games played. But what more should Bengals fans know about the team’s new defensive lineman? Let’s turn to Caroline for the answers to our questions.
Rebecca Toback: What do you think about the Bengals’ addition of Andrew Brown in Round 5 of the draft?
CD: I’m a little torn. As far as the Bengals go, y’all got an outstanding player, especially at that point in the draft. Brown is big, fast, and a guy that just doesn’t quit. Where I say I’m torn is the fact that I’m a Steelers fan, and I hate the idea of having to face him for the near future. That should show you my true feelings about Andrew Brown...haha.
RT: What do you see as some of his strengths?
CD: Brown times things on the line very well and uses every fiber of his being to attack the offensive line. He never stops working and churning. He shoots the gap well and is particularly effective when it comes to stopping the run and collapsing run lanes. He finished his final two years at Virginia with a combined 23.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, which, considering he was double-teamed basically all season, isn’t too shabby. I always joked that he was the most held player in the league as it often appeared that holding him was the only way for opponents to slow him down.
RT: How about any weaknesses?
CD: He could definitely improve his strength and quickness in the NFL. For college standards he was athletically gifted, but now you’re playing with the big boys. He wasn’t usually much of a factor in pass-rushing, so that’s something that you shouldn’t expect a ton of from him. NFL scouts complained about slower legs, so that’ll be a bigger deal than his hand speed or quickness.
RT: Did he have any major injuries/injuries of note while in college?
CD: He missed some time his first year due to a toe injury, but nothing major that should concern Bengal fans.
RT: Was he known for his personality? I know you’re a big fan of Brown and his personality. What should Bengals fans know about him on a more personal level?
CD: ABSOLUTELY. Brown is a guy that oozes personality and love for the game...one that people seemed to like to be around. He’s been described repeatedly as a ‘goofball’ He had some tough times growing up as his mother passed away from cancer when he was a child, but he’s always been one with a smile on his face...unless he’s playing. He’s a fierce competitor but has outside passions, specifically his music. According to an article from the Daily Press, one of the reasons he chose Virginia was because of their music production major. You can find some of his tracks here and he even preceded one of Coach Mendenhall’s weekly radio spots playing his music.
(RT note: I obviously had to write about Brown’s music once I learned about this! And, it’s pretty good!)
RT: Do you feel like he lived up to his college potential? Is there still room for him to grow as a player?
CD: I have very high hopes for Andrew. I think his potential is just starting to be fully attained and getting into professional training regimens and tutelage will only help him grow faster. A lot of outside folks don’t think he lived up to the hype as a five star guy, but the fact of the matter is that Virginia’s program was (and still is, to some extent) struggling, and I’m not sure if Mike London used Brown properly in his first two seasons. Under current coach Bronco Mendenhall, you really saw what Brown was about and his abilities, culminating in a special performance at the Reese’s Senior Bowl. I’m excited to see where he is as a player in a couple seasons.
RT: Anything else Bengals fans should know?
CD: You’re going to love Andrew Brown.