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91 players in 91 days: CB Ike Brown

SB Nation logo SB Nation 5/23/2020 Sean Murphy
a group of baseball players playing a football game © Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills boasted one of the league’s top defenses last season, and much of that was due to a fantastic defensive secondary. When three out of the team’s four starters are among the best in the league at their respective positions, it makes for tough sledding for opposing offenses.

Even though the Bills are loaded with talent in the defensive secondary, they still made quite a few additions to the group this offseason. Whether for camp competition, depth, or future improvements, the team is set up to have a strong secondary for years to come.

In today’s installment of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile a rookie with superb athletic measurables who could be a surprise player during camp this summer.

Name: Isaiah Brown (“Ike”)

Number: 38

Position: CB

Height/Weight: 6’, 185 lbs.

Age: 22 (via Twitter, I found that his birthday is April 25; however, I don’t know of what year. I assume that he turned 22 on 4/25/2020, making his birth date 4/25/98, but I can’t find his birth year anywhere)

Experience/Draft: R; undrafted in 2020 NFL Draft

College: Florida International University (FIU)

Acquired: Signed as UDFA with Buffalo on 5/8/2020

Financial situation (per Spotrac): Brown’s three-year contract is worth $2,285,000 overall. For the 2020 season, he carries a salary-cap hit of $610,000 if he makes the final roster. None of the money in the contract is guaranteed.

2019 Recap: Brown played in 12 of FIU’s 13 games last season, notching career highs in total tackles (44) and tackles for a loss (3). He did not intercept a pass on the season, but he had seven pass breakups—which tied his career high set during his freshman year in 2016. It’s only one game, but footage of FIU’s match-up with Tulane from last year shows that Brown was always lined as the Panthers’ left corner, and it also shows a player who appears to be much more comfortable playing press man than he is playing off the ball. He wasn’t targeted much (the Green Wave absolutely abused his counterpart en route to a blowout win), but Brown was beaten pretty badly on a back-shoulder throw early in the footage. He looked best when closing on short routes, and he took some pretty poor tackling angles throughout.

Positional outlook: Buffalo’s corners are an interesting group, as they appear to have plenty of depth and a solid mix of experience and youth. All-Pro Tre’Davious White is the clear top dog, with the CB2 battle coming down to incumbent Levi Wallace and two veteran additions in Josh Norman and E.J. Gaines. Taron Johnson, Cam Lewis, and Dane Jackson round out the corners on the current roster.

2020 Offseason: Nothing new to report.

2020 Season outlook: The young players Buffalo has added to the cornerback group both seem to be poor scheme fits, as they excel in man coverage as opposed to the zone schemes that Buffalo primarily runs. However, that’s most likely by design, as the Bills used veteran Kevin Johnson often last season when playing more man, and when they played more zone, Wallace was the guy opposite White. If the Bills are looking for a long-term player to rotate in with that in mind, then Brown has a chance to stick on the roster—albeit a very small one—this year. Brown’s pathway to the roster is more likely similar to that of Wallace, a fellow undrafted free agent who began his tenure with the Bills on the practice squad before injuries, ineffectiveness, and inexplicably-timed retirements paved the way for his opportunity in the second half of the 2018 season. In any case, the Bills likely are a team with too much talent at the corner position for Brown to overcome at this point.

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