At this point, all Penn State football fans are familiar with the Nittany Lions’ standout safety from a season ago: Ji’Ayir Brown. After turning heads in 2022, Brown could be the first safety drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft next month — according to one NFL analyst, he should be.
Will Ji’Ayir Brown be the first safety taken in 2023?
According to respected draft expert Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com, Ji’Ayir Brown is the best safety in his class. Here is what Daniel Jeremiah had to say about Brown ahead of the draft:
“He is my top safety in the entire draft,” Jeremiah said. “”He has corner skill … He can play in the middle of the field. He has ball production. You can drop him down low if you want. He is tough. He is physical”
“Brown is an explosive athlete who was utilized all over the Nittany Lions’ defense in 2022,” Jeremiah noted. “He lines up in the deep half, deep middle, in the box and in the slot. He has outstanding range and instincts against the pass, with the ability to match up with, and mirror, tight ends all over the field. He is fluid in his movement and his cornerback background shows up when matched with wideouts in the slot. He has excellent ball skills, which shows in his production.”
“You can see the Auburn game — what he does as a rusher there with a sack and the forced fumble,” Jeremiah said. “He can cover tight ends. He can do everything. He is a really good player. He is one of my favorite guys to watch in this draft, and everything I’ve heard about him character-wise is off the charts. So I’m a big fan of his.”
“Even though it’s not finished yet, when you start to see results that you wanted, it kind of makes you work harder,” he said. “Because the stories that the older guys were telling me, the coaches were telling me back when I was little, they’re true. Whoever works the hardest wins. If you work hard, you get what you want in life … Overall, Brown is a versatile player with Pro Bowl potential.”
Brown is not the only sought-after Penn State defensive back
Another huge name in the 2023 draft is Penn State’s standout corner, Joey Porter Jr. According just just about anyone you ask — from casual fans to draft experts — Porter will be one of the first players take in the first round this year. If this prediction comes true, Porter will break a Penn State football record by becoming the first Nittany Lion defensive back drafted in the first round.
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