Interview with Mississippi State LB Richie Brown
Draft boards are altered every year by good and bad pro day results. Some guys are deemed winners and climb up the rankings, while others falter and slip down the board. Mississippi State’s Richie Brown definitely won. According to this NFL.Com article, Brown posted a 37-inch vertical and a 6.75 three-cone time with at least 30 NFL teams on hand. Richie joined us here at Draft Breakdown to discuss that pro day, how he can help his defense win a play before the ball is even snapped, the toughest offensive players he’s ever lined up against and more.
Thanks for joining me today Richie.
Brown: No problem at all.
You weren’t invited to the combine. Did that tick you off?
Brown: At first yeah, it was a little upsetting. Collectively, we didn’t have a great season as a team. There wasn’t a lot of hype building behind our players. Not getting invited to the combine is just something that I had to shrug off. Since then, I’ve been digging down deep and working even harder.
You put that energy into your pro day. You posted a 37-inch vertical, and your three-cone time of 6.75 stood out to me as well. Do you think you caught some people off guard with those numbers?
Brown: Yeah, I had a pretty good day. Actually, I thought I would do a little better. There were a couple of things that I didn’t quite do as well as I wanted too. It was a good day overall. I think it helped me a little bit. I knew that I could do it, but I had to show everybody else.
It was especially important for teams to see that since you weren’t at the combine.
Brown: I think it definitely helped. Watching people run on film can be deceiving sometimes. You can’t really tell how fast or quick they are. It’s tough to tell how athletic a guy is on film. I think I showed some good athleticism at my pro day. It was a good day overall.
How many teams would you say attended?
Brown: I believe every team was there. Maybe one or two teams were absent. Nearly every team was in attendance.
Do you think there’s a bit of stereotype that claims linebackers such as yourself are less athletic?
Brown: Yeah, sometimes [laugh]. I’ve heard that before. I think that linebackers in general can get a bad rap sometimes. I guess typically, we’re supposed to be slower or less athletic. That might play a role, I’m not sure.
Do you have a scheme fit that you prefer at the next level? I know the draft community sees you as more of a weak-side guy.
Brown: I’ll play football. That’s all I want to do. If it’s a 4-3 or 3-4, I don’t have a preference. Mississippi State asked me to play both so I’m well experienced and familiar with either scheme. There’s not a specific scheme that I desire to be in. I just want to play football. If they want me to play in the middle and I need to call the shots, I’m prepared to do that. If they want me on the outside, wherever it is, I just want to play.
Speaking of playing in the middle and calling the shots, how can you help yourself pre-snap? How can you win with your eyes?
Brown: There’s a lot of things a middle linebacker has to be aware of. Everything from down and distance to the alignment of the offense, what formation they’re in, film study cues, the depth of the running back, depth of the tight end, among others. There’s all kind of things that can help you as a MIKE linebacker make the right calls and get your guys adjusted. It’s important to know the weakness and the strength of your own defense. When my defensive coordinator gives me a call, I’ll always put myself in his shoes and try to see what he’s thinking. There’s a bunch of things that you have to think through and process as a middle linebacker.
Four years at Mississippi State, 298 career tackles. How can you ensure that you’re a secure wrap-up tackler?
Brown: A lot of it is just getting to the ball. To have that many tackles, you just have to get to the ball. Honestly, I could have done an even better job getting to the ball at times. Mentally, I would be in the right position but I think I could have had a few more tackles. There’s definitely some plays that I look back on. Having 298 tackles, it’s frustrating to fall just short of 300 [laughs]. Tackling is something that can be controversial among different defensive coordinators. I was taught three different ways of tackling in my tenure here. Ultimately, it just comes down to effort, running to the ball and getting the guy to the ground. Whatever technique it is, you just have to be physical and motivated to get to the ball.
Brown does a nice job avoiding the clutter around the line to reach the ball cleanly. He’s not even touched here.
Spoken like a true field general. Between pre-draft visits and private workouts, how many teams would you say are showing interest?
Brown: I’ve met with about five or six teams, and have worked out with another four or five. I’ve spoken to every team that I can think of between the East-West all-star game and at my pro day. I talked with a good chunk of scouts. probably 15 or 16 of them personally. I’ve met and worked out with about five or six teams. It’s been going good so far.
I’m glad to hear it. You’ve faced some pretty good competition in four years at Mississippi State. Who do you think is the best RB or TE you ever lined up against?
Brown: There’s been a couple of guys that stick out. I would say Leonard Fournette last year, he’s a big buy and it’s hard to get him on the ground. The Auburn running back [Kamryn Pettway] had a big day against us, he’s another big guy that had a breakout game against us. I played against Derrick Henry, he was pretty damn good. Hunter Henry, we played against Arkansas. He was pretty good. Jeremy Sprinkle was good too.
I appreciate your time Richie. In closing, why should a team spend a draft pick on Richie Brown?
Brown: I love football. I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team. I love to know the game of football defensively, I feel like I have a high football IQ. I’m always striving to become a better player both mentally and physically. I would love a chance to play for a team and show them what I can do.