BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens selected Arthur Brown in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The team traded three picks to move up to get him. Brown was supposed to be a player that would help the Ravens patch up an inside linebacker unit that lost its leader, Ray Lewis to retirement. The Ravens also lost a key member of the 2012 Super Bowl team in Dannell Ellerbe, which created the perfect opportunity for Brown to step up immediately. Unfortunately, the results have not come.
The Ravens made a less heralded move that offseason when Daryl Smith was signed at a more reasonable cost than Ellerbe. Smith was set to be a veteran leader who would play well and be a mentor to Brown.
Brown didn’t start a single game during his rookie year and only registered 15 tackles. Meanwhile, Smith started all 16 games and played extremely well.
Brown’s second season went even worse for him. He didn’t play a single snap on defense after being beaten out by 2014 first round selection C.J. Mosley in training camp. Brown comes into training camp this year very much in need of an outstanding performance. He has been put on notice by Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome.
“Arthur Brown is another young man who, at this point of his career, needs to find a way to get to the field,” said Newsome.
With Mosley and Smith firmly entrenched as starters, the next logical area for Brown to contribute would have been special teams. He lost out in that competition to Zach Orr and Albert McClellan, which cost him a spot on the active roster for a number of weeks during the 2014 season.
Offseason activities went well for Brown. He was able to get some reps with the first team defense since Mosley was sidelined as he recovers from a wrist injury. Brown seemed to have bulked up a bit but still moved well. He caught the attention of defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
“I think Arthur Brown has taken a big step forward. I think he’s feeling a little more comfortable with the defense. He has always been fast; he has always been a tough guy. His problem has always been, maybe, a little bit of thinking what was going on and sometimes that would make him slow to react.” Pees said.
Sometimes it takes a while for a player to catch on and really get a grasp of the scheme that he’s expected to play in. Being unsure about alignment and assignment can slow down any player, even the ones that are naturally fast and Pees recognizes that may just be Brown’s problem.
“If he knows, he’s plenty fast. He’s a very fast linebacker.” Pees continued; “I think these OTAs and this mini-camp, he has taken a big step forward, as far as understanding the defense and what he has to do.”
The Ravens are losing patience in Brown and would like more than just special teams play as a return on their investment. Brown is surely a player to watch during training camp. Mosley came in and was an instant success. That raises the expectation for Brown. The roster is stacked with great players so it will be interesting to see whether or not he can remain with the team.