University of Connecticut running back Donald Brown finished last season with 2,083 yards, good to win the NCAA rushing title.
What does that buy Brown at next weekend’s NFL draft?
While the stat seems impressive, consider this: The previous five players that won the NCAA rushing title averaged a draft position of an early third-round pick — No. 72 to be exact. Only one of those players, DeAngelo Williams, was picked in the first round.
Brown, who stands at 5-foot-10 and weighs 210 pounds, looked great at the combine. He was the fifth-fastest running back in the 40-yard dash (4.51) and was at the top of his class in the shuttle tests.
But I’m more impressed with what Brown has done in between the Combine and next weekend’s draft. And it has nothing to do with reps.
Brown, who is represented by David Dunn and Athletes First for his contract work, is working with marketing agent Jamey Crimmins.
To put Brown on the phone with as many reporters as possible to make sure his client’s name is out there even more. I know because I got a call.
It’s a smart thing to do. While Brown did his work in the Big East and had more exposure than some other top rushers, it didn’t help that he played for a basketball school on the East coast.
“Teams will draft Donald based on what he has done on the field and what he did at the Combine,” Crimmins said. “But it makes sense to try to get him out in front of as many people as we can. Especially considering the fact that every time he opens his mouth, he makes himself look even better.”
Brown doesn’t have any illusion about blogs and message boards improving his draft stock, but knows that doing more than 50 interviews he’s done since he decided to forgo his senior year could only help him tell his story.
“If there are two guys of equal talent level, I’d hope that a team will look at my background, character and work ethic,” Brown said.
As for having to still tell his story despite his accomplishments, Brown says he doesn’t spend much time worrying about lack of respect.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Brown said. “As long as I have the respect of my teammates, coaches, friends and family, that’s all I really need.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper is currently projecting Brown to go as pick No. 23 to the New England Patriots. If he gets selected then, he’d be the first leading rusher to be selected in the top 25 since LaDainian Tomlinson was selected fifth in the 2001 Draft.
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