Orlando Brown Jr. was a good player in college. He was an awful specimen at the 2018 Scouting Combine.
But now that he’s regarded as a good player again, he’s willing to share the story of overcoming that perception.
“For me personally, I know that I had the worst Combine in NFL history,” Brown told Jeff Zrebiec of TheAthletic.com. “At the end of the day, I knew that it didn’t necessarily define me as a football player or define me as a person. I’ve never been somebody who runs fast or jumps high or does much in the weight room. But I’m always getting stronger and getting better.
“I don’t mind talking about it because it’s something that I think people need to hear more often about, more so than the negatives that people pay attention to. This doesn’t necessarily define guys as football players.”
When it came his turn to perform in Indianapolis, the Oklahoma tackle fell flat. And slowly.
He ran a 5.85-second 40-yard dash, which is slow for even the biggest prospects, and the slowest at that year’s event. He also posted combine-lows in the vertical jump (19.5 inches) and broad jump (82 inches), and his 14 reps of the 225-pound bench press were the fewest of any offensive lineman.
That turned a first-round prospect into a third-rounder in a hurry, before his father’s old friend and boss Ozzie Newsome stopped the fall. Since then, Brown has developed into the kind of player he showed on tape, and has made a Pro Bowl.
“It did take me a while to get over it,” Brown said. “Up until that point, I had that first-round grade from a lot of different teams. I felt like I could have gone in the top 10, just with who I am as a player and the confidence I had in myself to come to the NFL and be productive. It did take a toll on me a little bit. It still gives me a bigger chip on my shoulder than I already have. At the end of the day, I’m glad it happened. It put me in Baltimore in a great situation, with a great organization and a great team. My dad was really big on everything happens for a reason. As much as I hate to say it, although I probably shorted myself $20-something million, at the end of the day, I don’t regret it at all. I’m glad I ended up in Baltimore.”
It will take him years to recoup the money, but Brown at least serves as an object lesson for players who don’t show well this week.