Can A.J. Brown Produce Immediately in a Run-Heavy Titans Offense?
One of the most productive receivers in the NCAA in 2018, Brown should immediately step into Tennessee's starting lineup and provide fantasy value as a reliable pass-catcher from the slot for Marcus Mariota.
Entering the NFL, Brown leaves Ole Miss as one of the program's most decorated receivers in school history.
As a sophomore, Brown posted 1,252 receiving yards and then doubled-down in 2018 with 1,320 yards. When adjusting for team context, Brown's Dominator Rating puts him in the 59th-percentile, via PlayerProfiler, though he did play with two other wide receivers in this year's draft class: D.K. Metcalf and DaMarkus Lodge.
Another positive slant on a middling dominator rating, Brown broke out early enough (at 20.2 years old, also the 59th percentile) not to be overly skeptical about his production profile. Brown also out-produced the highly-touted Metcalf in each of his years on campus and wound up being drafted 13 picks earlier than Metcalf. Brown often ran out of the slot at Ole Miss but played all over the formation once Metcalf suffered a season-ending neck injury.
Standing at 6'0" and weighing 226 pounds, Brown ran the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds. When adjusted for height and speed, Brown's 40-yard dash ranked in the 90th-percentile.
There's a lot to like.
What to Expect
Ultimately, Brown should push for playing time immediately in Tennessee's offense. However, his overall ceiling remains a concern with Tennessee predicated on running the football. A season ago, Tennessee ran the ball at the second-highest clip in the NFL. They do have a new offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith, a former tight ends coach within the organization.
Despite the expected run-heavy offense, Brown should prove to be a reliable pass-catching option for Mariota. numberFire's editor-in-chief, JJ Zachariason, initially projects Brown for 67.6 targets, 43.3 receptions, 527.6 yards, and 2.6 touchdowns as a rookie.