Drew Boylhart  April 2008

Duane Brown   OT   Virginia   

 

STRENGTHS

Duane has excellent athletic talent.  He has the ability to play more than one offensive line position and the talent to play them all very well.  Duane is the type of kid that has success at just about anything he chooses to do on the football field because of his natural athletic talent.  He shows good enough feet to play in any offensive line blocking scheme.  If Duane had been left alone to play just one offensive line position at the college level and had not been moved around so much, he just might have been considered as one of the better offensive lineman in this draft.        

 

NEEDS TO IMPROVE

Duane might be one of the better athletic offensive lineman in this draft, but his techniques might be the worst.  Some of this is because Duane was moved around so much, but most of it, I suspect, is due to Duane's athletic talent and the fact that he never had to work at improving his techniques.  Duane's natural athletic ability has taken him this far; however, if he doesn't have the work ethic, mental stamina and strength to improve on his techniques along with the intelligence to realize that his biggest weakness is the lack of techniques, he will never see the field at the next level.     

 

TALENT BOARD ROUND 4

Usually when a player with this much athletic talent does not improve through the years in his techniques, it is a red flag for lack of work ethic.  I just can't help feeling that Duane has a work ethic problem, which could mean he will struggle taking what he needs to learn in the classroom to the field.  Athletic players who do not improve on their techniques have problems when they come up against players who have as much talent as they do.  They will often just give up and throw in the towel when challenged.  There is also another problem that a very athletic person runs into and that is a coach who is going to scream all day at them (for in most cases, the first time in their football lives).  They have never experienced a coach yelling at them before because they have had more athleticism and talent than anyone else on the field.  Coaches were busy yelling at other players -- players like Duane become the coaches' favorite.  In the NFL, Duane's athletic ability will not be enough for him to get by and coaches will be all over this kid to improve.  For Duane, this is going to be a really big shock and if he is not ready for this type of interaction with an authority figure, he just might crawl up into the fetal position and go home.  Duane has the talent to be a starting offensive lineman in the NFL.  I think his impact position is as a LG  because I see a lack of lateral agility in his workouts, but that's debatable.  If he is not taken too high in this draft and forced onto the field too early in his development, it will be possible for him to become a hell of a football player.  Duane will have to show that, along with his athletic talent, he has the mental strength and stamina to become a starting offensive lineman in the NFL.   There is hope; Jason Peters (LT Buffalo Bills) came into the league with the same type of athletic talent and questions that I have with Duane.  He was picked up after the draft as a rookie free agent and has become one of the better LT's in the NFL.  Duane can do the same if he wants it bad enough!