OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Making their first selection on the second day of the NFL Draft, the Ravens addressed another need by trading up to the 56th pick of the second round to select Kansas State inside linebacker Arthur Brown.
Baltimore swapped its original second-round pick (62nd overall) with the Seattle Seahawaks to move up six slots in order to take the coveted linebacker. General manager Ozzie Newsome also gave up fifth-round (165th) and sixth-round (199th) picks to complete the trade.
The 6-foot-1, 231-pound linebacker has excellent range and athleticism and will be expected to compete for a starting job at inside linebacker. The Ravens like his ability to drop into pass coverage, which was a deficiency of their linebackers over the last couple years. His 4.58-second 40-yard dash time shows the potential for Brown to hang with speedier tight ends and running backs in coverage at the next level.
“We think he’s a four-down linebacker who can play in passing situations, play the run, and also play special teams,” said assistant general manager Eric DeCosta, who was concerned he would come off the board before their original second-round pick. “We are very excited.”
In two seasons as a starter for the Wildcats, Brown finished with 201 tackles, three sacks, and five interceptions. He was one of the Ravens’ famed “red-star” players during the scouting process and a two-time captain.
Brown began his career at the University of Miami but transferred to Kansas State after little playing time in two seasons. He received first-team All-American (The NFL Draft Report and the Football Writers Association of America) and first-team all-conference honors last season and coaches of the Big 12 named him as the conference’s Defensive Player of the year.
“To walk into a school and be a fresh face and get that honor — that’s hard to do,” said director of college scouting Joe Hortiz about Brown being named a captain at Kansas State. “You have a lot of guys that are established there, and his teammates recognized that. He’s a great kid. He’s a great leader. He passes all the intangibles.”
The 22-year-old didn’t visit the Ravens but completed a private workout for the organization the weeks leading up to the draft.
Inside linebacker was one of the team’s pressing needs following the retirement of Ray Lewis and the free-agent departure of Dannell Ellerbe. The Ravens appeared to address the position with the signing of 2010 first-round pick and former Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain, but the 23-year-old was arrested last weekend in his hometown of Decature, Ala., leaving his future with the organization in doubt.
Based on his underwhelming size for the inside linebacker position, Brown takes the comparisons to Lewis in stride and is eager to compete to become part of the Baltimore tradition of defense.
“I can improve in really every area,” Brown said, “and it’s just a matter of time, just a matter of commitment and a matter of dedication and just the willingness to invest time and develop my weaknesses. Just to go out there and learn the scheme and being able to adjust to the concept.”
Coincidentally, the 199th pick surrendered as part of the package to move up in the second round was acquired from San Francisco when the Ravens traded wide receiver Anquan Boldin in mid-March.
Brown’s younger brother, Bryce, currently plays for the Philadelphia Eagles and was a seventh-round pick in the 2012 draft. The linebacker was forced to sit out the 2010 season after transferring to Kansas State, explaining how Bryce beat him to the NFL.
If you missed new Ravens linebacker Arthur Brown’s conversation with WNST.net’s Glenn Clark earlier this month, listen HERE.