Penn State fans love Ji’Ayir Brown.
Brown is a great story, going from a player with no Division I offers to JUCO star at Lackawanna Community College to a starter at Penn State.
He also became a pretty darn good player and a leader on Penn State’s defense.
Brown was a regular starting safety at Penn State for two of his three seasons there and was excellent both years. In 2021, he tied for the nation’s lead in interceptions. This past season, he fell from six interceptions to four, but still led the team in picks. He capped his college career in near-perfect fashion, being named the Rose Bowl’s defensive MVP.
Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown is one of my favs in the 2023 NFL Draft because of his versatility, physicality, and athleticism, and it’s all been on full display in the Rose Bowl.
After flashing his range on an INT earlier, he puts the OT on skates with the sack. pic.twitter.com/aUagdCVXJv
— Bobby Football (@Rob__Paul) January 3, 2023
Brown’s legacy at Penn State is secure. His NFL Draft status? Not so much.
Like with almost all draft hopefuls, it’s hard to tell when and where Brown will go.
NFL Mock Draft Database shows projections from various outlets that have Brown going in the 3-5th rounds.
But NFL.com draft expert Daniel Jeremiah likes Brown more than any other safety in the board.
“Ji’Ayir Brown is one that I finished up since my last top 50, he’ll move into my top 50,” Jeremiah told reporters on a conference call Friday. “I think he’s my top safety in the entire draft.”
So what does Brown do well in Jeremiah’s view?
“He’s got corner skill, obviously the history there, he can play in the middle of the field, he’s ball production, you can drop him down low if you want,” he said.
Jeremiah also praised Brown’s toughness and physicality and cited his performance in Penn State’s win over Auburn (five tackles, a sack, an INT and a forced fumble) as an example.
— Eric Galko (@EricGalko) September 19, 2022
“He can do everything. He’s a really good player. He’s one of my favorite guys to watch in this draft.”
Brown looks to help his draft stock at the NFL Combine, scheduled Tuesday, Feb. 28, through Monday, March 6. Brown is one of seven Penn State players invited to the combine.