If the Bengals draft Penei Sewell in the first round, then they will need to look for a wide receiver on Day 2.
One receiver they will look at might be Dyami Brown. The former North Carolina receiver has helped the Tar Heels become a formidable opponent after two straight years of coming in last place in their division. In Brown’s freshman year, North Carolina won only two games and landed at the bottom of the Coastal Division in the ACC. After the 2020 season, Brown is leaving a ranked program playing in a New Years’ Six Bowl.
More importantly, Brown can bring a deep threat to the Bengals that they don’t have on the roster right now. Could the Bengals look to add Dyami Brown in the middle of the draft?
School: North Carolina
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 189 pounds
Projected Round: Third or Fourth
Brown is one of the most interesting wide receiver prospects in the draft.
North Carolina had one of the country’s most high-powered offenses, with Sam Howell at quarterback, Dazz Newsome with Brown at receiver, and Javonte Williams and Michael Carter at running back. As talented as this group was, Brown stood out from them all.
Brown’s deep ball abilities were well utilized by the Tarheels, as Brown led the ACC in yards per reception in 2019 and in receiving yards in 2020. He finished in the top five of most statistical categories in his conference last year. In 23 games over his last two years, Brown caught 106 balls for 2,133 yards and 20 touchdowns.
The junior receiver often drew attention, but when he was one-on-one, he would use a lethal double-move to get past the secondary. Once he was open downfield, he used his advanced ball-tracking abilities and his excellent body control to haul in long touchdown receptions.
If defenders gave him a cushion to protect against his deep threat abilities, then he would cut off his route and haul in easy five to ten yard catches. He usually turned downhill to look for extra yards and never backed down from contact.
So why is he projected to fall to the middle of the draft?
For one, once he hauls in short catches, he doesn’t have many moves to make defenders miss. He usually puts his head down and grinds out extra yards. While it’s great to see that effort and competitiveness from him, he doesn’t have the strength to break many tackles. The same goes for his blocking; while he’s willing and skillful enough, he’s not big or strong enough to be consistent.
In addition, he was never challenged much by ACC competition, so he never developed a large repertoire of routes. He has some that he can do really well, but he will need to work on others.
For being a specialist in terms of reeling in deep passes, Brown is not the best in contested catch situations, which may hurt him at the next level when he won’t always have separation down the field. There are some concerns around his hands, but things get difficult for him when he’s fighting with defenders.
Fit with the Bengals
The Bengals don’t currently have anyone with Brown’s skillset. His 4.44 40-yard dash at his pro day makes him a full tenth of a second faster than Tee Higgins, and even faster compared to Tyler Boyd.
Even if Joe Burrow doesn’t throw to Brown often, having him on the field will stretch the defense for the other receivers.
There’s no doubt that Brown would give the Bengals’ offense an extra something that would make it even more dangerous.
The problem is, he won’t be an every down player. In short yardage or goal-to-go situations, the Bengals would likely have to substitute Auden Tate or someone else.
If the Bengals draft Sewell or Kyle Pitts in the first round, then maybe they will wait to address wide receiver until they can get Brown. Even if they draft Ja’Marr Chase, they might still add Brown in the fourth round.
His deep ball skills are too good for the Bengals to ignore. However, they may decide he’s not worth using a draft pick for if they don’t think he’ll be on the field enough.