Denver Broncos LB Baron Browning wins big cover props from Pro Football Focus
In his first NFL draft as Denver Broncos general manager, George Paton was tasked with waking up a team he described as a “sleeping giant” when he took the job. While Broncos Country values linebacker Josey Jewell’s blue-collar work ethic, Denver’s defense needed a young, athletic upgrade to the position.
Paton selected Baron Browning from Ohio State in the third round of last year’s draft. Known for his versatility, Browning was tapped to play both inside and outside linebacker during his four-year career as a Buckeye. His relentless preparation and production made him a Butkus Award finalist in the Big Ten, and he later attended the Senior Bowl where I fell in love with his game.
During his rookie season, Browning started nine games for the Broncos and played in 14, recording 58 tackles (32 solo), 12 saves, two tackles for a loss, two passes defended, and a QB hit. While those stats might not go off the page, the 23-year-old was responsible for calling former head coach Vic Fangio’s complex defense on the stretch and playing exceptionally well.
Wednesday,Focus on professional football credited the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Browning as having played the most cover snaps without allowing a touchdown among rookie defensemen in 2021.
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Season notes from PFF for Browning also indicate that the Texas native was targeted by opposing QBs 38 times, and gave up just 27 receptions for 262 yards. The budding defensive star allowed 9.7 yards per reception, and his longest dropped pass was 29 yards.
Under new head coach Nathaniel Hackett and defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Browning is rumored to see reps from outside linebackers in addition to honing his passing skills. Due to Randy Gregory’s knee surgery and the return of Bradley Chubb, it’s not a stretch to think that Browning could be called upon to terrorize QBs in addition to his extraordinary coverage.