The Bills are continuing to kick the tires on the second and third tier of free agents still available. According to Bills beat writer Chris Brown, the team is hosting linebacker Zach Brown and cornerback Corey White today. UPDATE: Brown has signed a one year deal. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF) Brown played in 46% of the Titans snaps in 2015, but still managed to produce 1 sack, 1 QB hit, 4 QB hurries, 60 solo tackles and 30 stops.
Zach Brown was a second round draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2012, who didn’t really develop into the player they had expected. Brown was one of the most athletic linebackers of that 2012 class.
Brown is #55 in the following clips:
He is able to play sideline to sideline. Look at him chase down Miller.
Brown played the weak-side inside linebacker in the Titans 3-4 defense. His problems come versus the run. He is a linebacker that is undisciplined at times, a guy who takes chances and bad angles to the ball.
His read and diagnose skills are questionable at best and are the main reason that his play has been inconsistent. At inside linebacker, the plays happen quicker. The reads are quicker and you have to take the proper angles to the ball or else the defense will be gutted. Some of the same issues that Nigel Bradham had in 2015, I saw Brown making in 2015.
Brown has issues on screens and split zone concepts. Plays where the offense throws a false read at the player. His speed makes up for the false steps to his right.
When he is kept clean in the tackle box, he can make plays. That’s why Buffalo could be a perfect fit for him. Rex Ryan uses a lot of hybrid and umbrella defenses, defensive looks that can keep linebackers free.
On this play Derrick Morgan occupies two defenders allowing Brown to make the play on the edge.
Hopefully he can do this against the Jets twice a year.
Zach does have the ability to blitz. He isn’t a natural at it. He is more valuable in coverage so he wasn’t asked to blitz often.
In 2015, Brown was targeted 31 times and he allowed 22 passes for 198 yards, zero touchdowns and he picked off two passes. He is a linebacker that has the skills to stay with big, athletic tight ends. Something the Bills will be dealing with quite frequently in the AFC East.
Here he gets back into a good trail technique versus Julius Thomas, then makes a play on the ball.
Brown does a decent job down the field on the WR.
Brown picks off Luck on this play.
Zach Brown may be another one of those players that is willing to take a prove it deal. He only started five games in 2015. But even with his limited snaps he was able to fill the stat box. He needs to show more balance as a defender. According to Pro Football Focus, Brown was the third worst run defender on the Titans in 2015. But in pass coverage he was graded as the best on the team. His eyes are lazy at times making him rely on his physical talents to make up for it. But in the NFL, players can’t just rely on their physical makeup. There is more to the game than that. He needs a coach that will drill the read keys into his head, a coach that will stay on top of him. The Bills have a coach in Rob Ryan who may be able to get through to Brown. Being a former Tar Heel I am sure Brown knows defensive line coach John Blake also.
There aren’t too many players left in free agency that fit the Bills’ scheme and budget. Brown fits and he can start for Buffalo in 2016 and is affordable.