The Seattle Seahawks made their second selection of the 2021 NFL Draft on Saturday afternoon, picking former Oklahoma cornerback Tre Brown 137th overall. The 5-foot-10-inch defensive back has the reputation of a “maniacal worker,” which perfectly fits with his new team’s head coach.
When the Seahawks turned in the card and made Brown the latest member of the roster, the NFL Network analysts began raving about his work ethic. Analyst Daniel Jeremiah, in particular, said that Brown “embodies Pete Carroll’s mantra” of always competing. The Super Bowl-winning head coach has continued to preach this message throughout his career in the Pacific Northwest, and now he has a player that will continue to do as requested.
“This guy is a dog,” Pro Football Focus analyst Mike Brown said on Saturday. “5-foot-9, 185 [pounds], but he plays like he is 6-foot-2. … The past two years in the Big 12, sub-50 completion percentage both those years, under 300 yards allowed both those years in the Big 12. You’re getting thrown on, game in and game out, and he passed the test consistently on the outside too.”
The undersized Brown contributed with massive plays during his career
A press corner in college, the feisty Brown excelled when using press coverage to limit opposing receivers. According to NFL analyst Lance Zierlein, he turned every press release “into a fist fight” and “bullied passive receivers” while using his power at the line of scrimmage.
This coverage style, as well as short-area quickness, helped Brown allow the lowest passer rating in a pass-happy conference. He also delivered multiple game-sealing plays for the Oklahoma Sooners. One specific example is an interception in the end zone against the Texas Longhorns that delivered a win in the Red River Showdown. In 2020 alone, Brown posted 31 tackles, three interceptions, and six pass breakups.
Continuing the trend of shutting down receivers will not be simple for Brown. PFF even estimated that Brown will move inside to the slot as the Seahawks reshuffle a secondary also featuring Damarious Randall, Trey Flowers, DJ Reed, and Ahkello Witherspoon. Though he will continue to compete while showcasing his physicality.
“That’s kind of how I was taught,” Brown told reporters on Saturday, per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “Our coaches used to tell us, ‘if we are not getting penalties, we are not being physical enough.’ I think I took that too literally. I think that’s something that could change.”
Brown continued and explained that his reputation for being physical is “kind of fair.” Although he clarified that he has coverage ability as well and that the hands-on nature of his game does not take away from what he can do on the football field. Brown explained that he is just ready to do whatever the team needs.
Brown should contribute on special teams
Along with his ability to cover receivers and tight ends out of the slot, the former Oklahoma corner should have opportunities to immediately contribute on special teams. He had multiple roles during his college career, including as a kick returner. He had 55 returns for 1,207 yards, averaging 21.9 yards each time. Brown also earned second-team All-Big 12 honors as a kick returner in 2018.
“Tre really grew a lot throughout his career here,” Oklahoma head coach Pat Riley told 247Sports. “He came in as a talented guy and left as a guy who was much more technically sound. He really played consistently for us in the defensive secondary this past year. He made a lot of big plays. He was a big factor in the special teams game as well, which I think had the interest of several NFL teams. I think he’ll do a great job in both of those areas with Seattle.”
Brown will have to clean up his game in order to avoid penalties and become a consistent contributor on defense, but he should find a role on special teams. His maniacal effort and willingness to compete at all times will help him achieve this goal as he continues to embody Carroll’s mantra.