Arizona Cardinals: Five playmakers to pair with Kyler Murray at No. 33 overall
A.J. Brown – WR, Ole Miss
D.K. Metcalf isn’t the only former Ole Miss wide receiver to unexpecting drop out of the first round. A.J. Brown joins the list of falling former Rebels and may be a better option for the Cardinals due to his lack of glaring red flags. While Metcalf lacks in his mobility and health, Brown possesses both and was more productive than the former’s entire college career in one season alone.
In Brown’s junior season, he had 84 receptions for 1,307 yards and six touchdowns. Both the receptions and yards were more than Metcalf had in his entire Ole Miss tenure. He also had a higher career catch rate of 74.0% compared to Metcalf’s 56.8%, per Pro Football Focus.
Comparisons for receivers might be lazy, but it’s hard to not see some JuJu Smith-Schuster in Brown. The Ole Miss product compares favorably to the Steelers’ star in that they are both effective in the slot or outside, but are best when used as a mismatch-monster as a big slot receiver due to his solid 6-foot, 226-pound frame.
At the combine, Brown recorded a 4.49 second 40-yard-dash, a 36.5-inch vertical, and a 120-inch broad jump — all good results for the position. But, he’s more than an athletic prospect. Whether the route is short, long, horizontal, or vertical, Brown can will himself open with quick feet, ideal hip movement, and sharp breaks.
Brown’s also not afraid to attack the middle of the field and has the hands to pluck balls out of the air. After the catch, he uses his big frame and running back-esque vision to churn through yardage (and tackles) which results in his 1,425 yards after the catch in college, per PFF. The Ole Miss product is one of the more complete receivers in this class, which makes him an enticing option for the Cardinals at No. 33 overall.