High School and College Career
Ji’Ayir Brown was a 3-star recruit from Trenton Central High School prior to joining the Penn State football team.
In his freshman year of 2020, Brown played in a total of 9 games for the Nittany Lions, logging 130 snaps at the safety position. Although he participated in a significant amount of playtime, Brown only managed to record 5 tackles without any assists. In terms of coverage, Brown was unable to notch up any pass breakups or interceptions, and he had a QB rating of 97.9 when targeted by an opposing team.
However, in the following year, as a sophomore in 2021, Brown’s gameplay improved significantly. He played in a total of 13 games, logging 721 snaps for the Nittany Lions. Brown improved his tackling abilities, recording 66 tackles. Moreover, in coverage, Brown seemed to have improved his abilities by tallying up 3 pass breakups, 6 interceptions, and a decent QB rating of 79.2 when targeted by opposing teams.
In Brown’s junior year of 2022, he still maintained his improved performance on the field. Brown played in 12 games, contributing to the team with 611 snaps. He had a total of 54 tackles, forced one pass breakup and tallied up 3 interceptions while giving up an impressive QB rating of 59.2 when targeted by opposing teams. Additionally, Brown recorded 10 total pressures and 3 sacks on the year, further showing his contributions to the team.
Ji’Ayir Brown Scouting Report Introduction
Ji’Ayir Brown, a senior safety at Penn State, has had two highly productive seasons in college football, making him a promising NFL prospect. With 122 tackles and 10 interceptions in the last two seasons, Brown has proven himself to be a formidable force against the run and a skilled ball-hawk. His size and athleticism make him a versatile player who can play a variety of roles on a team.
Primarily aligned as a deep safety, Brown has shown proficiency in the box and in the slot as well. He has impressive straight-line speed and burst, both as a run defender and in coverage. In the run game, Brown displays a quick trigger and is capable of coming downhill to fill the alley rapidly, and he delivers powerful hits with bad intentions. However, this aggression can be a double-edged sword, since he is left prone to missed tackles. Brown’s angles towards the football are a major concern, as he sets himself up to fail more often than not. Brown’s best performance in the run game happens when he is playing down in the box, allowing him to make plays near the line of scrimmage.
In terms of coverage, Brown flashes above-average range in the back end and has a good speed that can make plays red line to red line. However, his instincts in coverage are not at the same level, and he is often slow to recognize developing plays, leaving him a step or two behind. Brown also struggles with play-action and misdirection, which can cause him to be fooled on occasion. On the other hand, when Brown does recognize the play, his explosiveness allows him to get to the ball quickly, and his ball skills are exceptional. In man coverage, Brown becomes stiff, and his change of direction is average at best. He takes extra steps when breaking down out of his pedal, allowing receivers to separate. Shallow areas of the field seem to be where Brown performs the best.
Ji’Ayir Brown has clear strengths and weaknesses as a safety. His lack of instincts and consistency in tackling make it difficult to trust him in anything more than a backup safety role or as a core special teams player. However, his impressive athleticism and toughness cannot be overlooked, making him a potentially valuable asset in the right situations.
Ji’Ayir Brown is willing to tackle in run support. Brown exhibits strong defensive skills in man coverage. Although he may not be a top-performing defender in this area, his foot speed and length enable him to keep up with slot receivers in four-wide sets, helping to prevent short pattern plays.
One of Brown’s greatest strengths is his ability to pursue ball carriers. He can track down players quickly, making it challenging for them to create substantial yardage. Additionally, he is known for his stocky build and physicality in the middle of the field. The way he fills hard against the run makes it difficult for teams to gain significant ground, and he takes good paths to the ball, allowing him to be in the right position to disrupt plays.
Instead of playing aggressively and pressing up against an opposing receiver, Brown will often back off and give them a lot of space. This can be a double-edged sword because it allows him to avoid getting beaten by speedy receivers who can use their quickness to get past him. However, it also means that he’s not as effective at jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage and disrupting their routes.
Another downside to Brown’s conservative approach is that it can cause him to draw penalties. If he gives opposing receivers too much space, they can often gain yards after the catch, and if Brown tackles them aggressively, he could be flagged for a personal foul penalty. This is especially true early on in games when referees are still getting a feel for the players and may be more likely to throw flags.
Another area where Brown has shown some hesitancy is when he’s playing zone coverage. In this type of defensive scheme, Brown is responsible for covering a certain area of the field rather than one specific receiver. Unfortunately, Brown has been known to hesitate when facing the action in zone coverage, which means he may not react as quickly as he needs to in order to make a play on the ball.
He can be inconsistent when it comes to getting off of blocks. When he’s facing an opposing receiver who’s trying to block him, Brown doesn’t always do a good job of shedding the block and getting into position to make a tackle. This can be a problem in run defense, as it allows ball carriers to get past him for extra yardage.
Overall, while Brown has some skills that could make him an effective player, such as his ability to avoid getting beaten deep, he also has some areas where he needs to improve. Specifically, he needs to work on being more aggressive in coverage, shedding blocks more effectively, and reacting more quickly in zone coverage. If he can make strides in these areas, he could become a valuable contributor to his team’s defense.
Ji’Ayir Brown is our 93rd prospect on our draft big board.