Jalil Brown wants to prove to NFL scouts that he’s very capable of playing the cornerback position. After all, he was a mainstay in the secondary for four seasons at the University of Colorado, where he appeared in all 49 of the games played during his collegiate career, including 28 starts.
As battle-tested as they come, Brown often played in a press man coverage scheme on the opposite side of the field from shutdown corner Jimmy Smith, a first-round prospect considered by many to be the second-best DB in the draft.
Smith recorded zero interceptions this past season. Why? Because opposing quarterbacks rarely threw to his side of the field, meaning Brown was targeted a heckuva lot in the pass-friendly Big 12 Conference, often going up against the No. 1 receiver in his opponent’s attempt to create a mismatch.
Brown stood his ground, playing well enough to earn an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where his solid performance in the week of practice leading up to the game put NFL scouts on notice.
So what can Brown do in the NFL? “My big thing is showing teams that I have the agility, speed and quickness of a corner who is an average or smaller size,” says the well-proportioned Brown. “I’m in a better situation, because there aren’t many cornerbacks who are taller than six feet and more than 200 pounds. That’s something that I embody, and I’m trying to show that I can battle with big receivers, but also have the quickness, speed and agility of an elite cornerback.”
In advance of the Combine, Brown has been sharpening his skills at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. He says, “I’m getting all my footwork and technique down to a tee, so I’m on point when I get to the Combine.” The 2010 winner of the Iron Buffalo Award for “hard work, dedication, toughness and total poundage lifted in the weight room,” Brown found IMG the perfect training fit. “We’ve been getting our swoll on with [director of physical conditioning] Coach Jeff Dillman,” he says. “His energy and enthusiasm get us all fired up in the weight room. He creates a competitive environment, and we all push ourselves to get better.”
The speed and movement-based Combine events are where Brown hopes to make his mark. “Those numbers in the Three-Cone Drill and the Short Shuttle and the 40 are what’s most important for my position and will count the most,” he says. “This is a childhood dream of mine, and I can reach out and almost touch it.”