by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Daily Herald.
The NFL Draft talk never ends and we here at Draft 412 will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars. From today until draft night 2024, we will bring you mocks, profiles, team needs, and everything else related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Northern Illinois, Running Back, Antario Brown
Name- Antario Brown
Team- Northern Illinois
HT/WT- 5’10” 219 lbs.
Home – Savannah, GA
Brown earned first team All-State honors in Georgia as a junior in 2019. He rushed for 1,008 yards in 10 games with 500 more receiving yards in his breakout season. His senior season was cut short due to Covid-19 and in 5 games, he ran for 375 yards. He was a dominant athlete in high school as shown by him breaking the school record in the 100 meters (10.9). He committed to Northern Illinois during his senior season to play football for the Huskies.
Brown had a very productive freshman season, playing in 10 games and starting two of those contests. He finished the season 3rd on the team in rushing yards with 538 yards on 81 carries, while scoring 5 touchdowns.
Last season, he started 3 of the 10 games he played in and was second on the team in rushing yards with 689 yards and 7 touchdowns. He once again averaged more than 6 yards per carry for Northern Illinois.
Antario Brown has taken his game to another level so far in 2023. In just 6 games, he has already ran for 616 yards and 5 touchdowns and is once again averaging 6.6 yards per carry. He is coming off a huge week against Akron where he ran for 280 yards on 13 attempts and 4 touchdowns.
Brown has grown as a running back over the past 3 seasons and has started showing patience in letting his blocks set up and/or pull. He is a straight ahead runner who is always moving north and south. He gets every yard that he can on each carry, and it shows with his 6.5 average YPC for his career. He works better out in the open and has excellent vision and cut back ability to help create his own holes, making him a nice for a team that runs a zone blocking scheme. He can beat you in several different ways: he has the cutback ability to beat you in space and he also can lower his shoulder and absorb a hit while keeping his legs moving. He runs with a low base, making him hard to bring down at times.
Antario Brown is quick but does not have the homerun speed to beat a secondary consistently. He struggles in pass blocking and Draft 412 thinks he has enough size to improve this at the NFL level. Northern Illinois rarely has used him as a pass catcher out of the backfield only having 5 receptions in 2 ½ seasons. He will need to prove to the NFL that he has this skillset. He can overthink his runs at times and will make a cut that is not needed, which costs him touchdowns on occasion.
Brown could be thought of as a poor man’s Dalvin Cook. They both excel at misdirections and cutbacks and have enough speed and power to beat you multiple ways. Dalvin Cook was more of a complete prospect coming out of Florida State because they used him as a receiver regularly.
Antario Brown is a late riser who is getting talked about now in the draft circle. He is only a junior and Draft 412 thinks he could be a prime player to possibly enter the transfer portal and play against tougher opponents for a season. If he comes out now, he will be a late round pick or a UDFA.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 7th round or UDFA