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Eagles All-22 Film Review: A.J. Brown is a true number 1 wide receiver

A closer look at Philadelphia’s new WR.

NFL: MAY 02 AJ Brown Press Conference Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Oh baby. This post needs no introduction, just sit back, grab a drink, and enjoy. Rookies from the Eagles’ 2022 NFL Draft class are up next... but I had to start with this one.

Stats from this past season

All data only includes players who played 20% snaps minimum. All from PFF!

- 459 snaps outside, 178 in the slot last year.

- 88 receiving grade last year, ranks 4th.

- 61.8% targets caught, ranks 66th.

- 14.9 yards per reception, ranks 18th.

- 3.6 YAC per reception, ranks 63rd.

- 2.72 yards pre route run, ranks 5th.

- 11.7 drop % (9 total drops), ranks 8th worst in the league.

- 50% contested catch % (13/26 total), ranks 40th.

Strengths

+ Freakish combination of size and strength to defeat press coverage and play the X position

+ A high level vertical threat with the speed to run away from defenders

+ Excellent ball tracking skills, quick to locate and find the ball in the air.

+ Understands how to get open and the nuances of route running. Not just a big tall fast guy

+ Very quick in and out of his breaks, with the ability to stop and start again extremely quickly

+ Extremely good at YAC, has the speed to outrun opponents and can make people miss in the open field

+ Really good at using his body to box out CBs.

+ Hands catcher who can pluck the ball away from his body, in contested situations and on the sideline

+ Has the mentality to take over games. Always comes up in clutch situations. Has drives where he is borderline unstoppable. A high-level competitor.

+ Very strong blocker, good size and very physically strong

Weaknesses

- Has a few too many drops, including some poor concentration ones

- Not consistently clean out of his break and does slip on a fair few occasions

- Has struggled with injuries a lot. In his 3 seasons, he has played 69%, 81% and 69% of the total snaps.

- Little bit of a hot streak type of player who can have quiet periods, largely due to the offense he played in. For example, he didn’t have a catch v. the Colts in week 8 until 4 mins left in the 2nd quarter. (He then went on to go for 10-155-1!)

Overall

AJ Brown is a stud. A true number 1 receiver who can win in every way possible. He is a downfield vertical threat who can physically beat press coverage. He is a speedster who can create huge plays with yards after the catch. He can win at the catch point and be a contested catch receiver. Oh, and you can also move him around and use him in the slot, as an extra blocker in the run game, or as a decoy with fake reverses etc. Not bad.

The reason why I love watching players individually is you really get to know their game well. People always compare Brown to Deebo Samuel, and I expected a player who consistently gets short targets and gets loads of yards after the catch. I was wrong. You can watch full games of AJ Brown where he gets no YAC. He doesn’t get YAC that often and he is used much more as a downfield, vertical threat. The Titans run a low volume passing game and sometimes he only ever seemed to get deep, low percentage throws. Therefore, he sometimes disappears in games and his numbers do not reflect his talent.

It’s hard to put this into words too, but AJ Brown is a game winner. He is as competitive of a receiver as I have seen for a while, and he seems to always come up clutch. Big games do not faze him, and he consistently makes big plays when the game is on the line. In addition to this, he is a slightly streaky player. He might have quarters where he goes without a catch, but then will suddenly have 4 catches on one drive including a touchdown. When he gets going, he is borderline unstoppable. I think some of these spells without a catch are more to do with the way the Titans offense is run too, than a fault of the player.

Honestly, I could not be more excited about watching AJ Brown play for the Eagles. His biggest problem is his ability to stay on the field. His talent is unquestionable, the only concern I have is his health. His contract is huge, but worth it. He is a top tier wide receiver 1 and should completely alter the way that the Eagles can play on offense next year.