Spencer Brown has high upside in 2021 NFL Draft

(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
(Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Spencer Brown was an oversized high school tight end who did not get much attention from major college programs. Brown found himself at Northern Iowa as a redshirt, converting his game from tight end to tackle. After a year, Brown stepped into the starting lineup at right tackle. Brown started at right tackle in both 2018 and 2019. Due to COVID-19, Northern Iowa did not have a fall season, but instead of transferring to gain traction, Brown wanted to stay and workout with his teammates.

With the time to prepare for his pro day, Spencer Brown put on a show. You can see his size and athleticism below as how he compares to others at his position who have tested in the past.

Traits that Spencer Brown can translate to the NFL

You cannot teach what Brown has. He not only has the size of an NFL tackle but he has elite athleticism at his size. With a tackle body, he still moves like a tight end. You just do not find people his size who move as he does often.

With that in mind, his best trait is also his foot quickness. The size creates a wall, but the ability to scoot back in pass pro at the speed he does is what gives pass rushers fits getting around him. Beyond that, he can pull into the second level and across the line of scrimmage and essentially burry linebackers under the shadow that is the 6’8″ lineman. A zone blocking scheme could unleash a move like him as a lead blocker.

Where Spencer Brown can improve in the NFL

We are talking about a tight end who played two seasons at right tackle at Northern Iowa. He was not a stonewalling SEC lineman for his career and still is new to the position. He may be able to move to the left side but has only experience from the right side for now.

His feet are quick, but he is raw in his pass sets. His biggest issue counters. When he has to stop and change direction, he jumbles his feet and gets stuck in the mud.

His size is excellent combined with his length and gives him plenty of advantages. However, it does mean he has to bend low to take on lower pass rushers who can bend the corner with speed. His technique will have to be perfect to win the battle of leverage, and it is inconsistent right now.

Lastly, for a tight end who put on weight to get to 311, he still needs to add some functional strength. He is the type of player that will benefit from an NFL workout program more than an Alabama prospect who has essentially had that luxury already.

NFL Comparison for Spencer Brown

Spencer Brown is fascinating because there truly are not people who are that tall and move that well. The 3-cone involves sinking your weight and changing directions and that is a lot for someone so tall. To test in the 99th percentile is jaw-dropping.

When looking at a list of similar players, there are very few who do not work out. Big names such as Lane Johnson, and Kolton Miller, and Taylor Lewan stand out as similar athletes at his size.

Kolton Miller is probably the best NFL comparison to Spencer Brown from an upside perspective. Miller was raw, although he played at UCLA, not Northern Iowa. That is what propelled him into round 1, which was a scrutinized pick. Still, a 6’9″ athlete who can move the way he does was destined to succeed. After a year or so, he proved his draft value.

Brown may be the light version or at least the less experienced version of Miller. Still, when you can move like him, you can turn into a Kolton Miller success story.

Does Spencer Brown fit Chicago Bears?

The Chicago Bears currently have Germain Ifedi and Charles Leno at tackle. Neither should be locked into this year though, let alone next year. In Ifedi, they have a placeholder who was playing guard for them at this point last year. In Leno, we all know exactly what he is.

Brown would likely step in at right tackle but would step in by Week 1. He may be a pick that is more destined to starting in 2022. The question then comes down to the draft cost.

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On one hand, a project with the potential to start in 2022 is going to fall, on the other humans, that big that move like that gets pushed up high on the draft board.

The fact that Brown is in a position of need, from a small school with high upside and athleticism does make him a potential Ryan Pace draft pick. Keep that in mind as we get closer to draft season.