Don't let Terrell Brown's big body lead to oversized expecations
ST. LOUIS — It started with an estimate.
"6' 10", 385" a reporter said, predicting the size of St. Louis Rams undrafted free agent Terrell Brown.
"Actually, we weighed him at 403," Rams coach Jeff Fisher answered.
By then it was too late. Size like that makes the mind do funny things, like explore all the ways a body that big could wreak havoc in the NFL. It's fun, isn't it? But we should probably pump the brakes.
Yes, Brown is big. If he does end up on the Rams' roster, he'll be the biggest player in a league full of giants. But more information is available — information that says Brown's chances are slim to none.
Fisher said Brown will be used as a right tackle despite previous experience as a defensive lineman. It's not the first switch the lineman has made, a sign that Brown has always struggled to find his spot on the field.
He started his football journey at Mississippi Delta Community College. He redshirted his first season there, then sat out his second year with a knee injury. He was working at a furniture store before Ole Miss, like the Rams, decided to give him a chance based on his body.
A similar, but much less publicized, reaction occurred. It included the same theories that are being trotted out now. Maybe Brown's height and 38-inch arms could make him an X-factor in the kick-blocking game. Maybe he could be a fullback in short-yardage situations like William "The Refrigerator" Perry. If nothing else, Brown could be used as a barrier. Plug him in front of the opposing team's center and clog everything that comes up the middle.
Mike Markuson, then the co-offensive coordinator at Ole Miss, tried to diffuse this hype in 2010. According to the Clarion Ledger, he said Brown's size nearly made it too difficult for him to play football effectively. Markuson cited Brown's lack of flexibility as a limiting factor. His prediction turned out to be spot-on.
Brown didn't play at all that year. He appeared in eight games as a defensive lineman the following season. During that stretch, he totaled one assisted tackle. As a senior, his first year on scholarship, he played in just two games — this time as an offensive lineman.
The limitations that stopped Brown from being a relevant college football player are still present. They will be even more insurmountable at the highest level of the game. Watch him struggle to move from his stance in an athletic fashion — a battle that has been on display during the Rams' recent organized team activities — and lofty expectations about his impact in the NFL, while fun, seem silly.
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