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Sydney Brown is ‘beyond blessed’ to be drafted by the Eagles

The third-round pick from Canada doesn’t have a lot of experience under his belt, but he’s got the kind of work ethic to excel at whatever he tries.

NFL Combine - Portraits Photo by Todd Rosenberg/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles chose safety Sydney Brown out of Illinois with the No. 66 overall pick on Friday night, and GM Howie Roseman called it a passion pick for a lot of people on the staff. It’s easy to see why. Aside from his collegiate production, when he spoke to reporters on Saturday, it was clear that he was someone who would fit in seamlessly with the culture in Philly.

Brown said that he knows he’s joining a prestigious, championship caliber organization, but heading into the draft, he didn’t know much. The safety said he had a short meeting with the Eagles in Indy at the Combine, and then met with them again at the Senior Bowl, but that was the last time he heard from the team.

“They were kind of on my radar going into the third round, and I’m beyond blessed to have them pick me.”

Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman mentioned on Friday that seeing Brown at the Senior Bowl completed their evaluation of him as a more versatile player. Brown explained that he tried to maximize his opportunity, and went in thinking that he had a good chance if he ends Day 3 better than he started Day 1. The rookie talked about how he just wanted to get better one day at a time — which fits in perfectly with the mentality and focus of Nick Sirianni’s culture.

“I know my ability. I’m confident in what I do. I know what I do well, and I know what I need to work on. So, it was definitely a week that propelled my draft stock.”

Brown went on to talk about how he’s coming from a system that played a lot of man coverage, and a coach that instilled a lot of man pressures and zero blitzes which distilled a post safety — it just wasn’t his role in college. But, he knows he can do it well and he can dominate playing the post, it’s just about getting more reps at it.

He mentioned being grateful to Lovie Smith for bringing him to Illinois initially, with Brown admitting at the time he only knew how to play cover one, but by having to work in different systems under different coaches during his collegiate career, he’s been able to learn a lot more. One thing he learned is how to intercept quarterbacks, racking up six last season alone.

“I feel like I could’ve have 10 last year, but I took advantage when I saw the ball. That’s all it’s about, capitalizing when you see it. And I did exactly so. But, that means nothing. What I did in college means nothing, it’s all about what I do now and I’m going to be productive. I want to be a great teammate, I want to be a leader in the locker room, and do anything I can to be productive for this football team.”

Brown talked about how he was a boxer until the age of about 14, and he went undefeated in Canada — although he joked that he’s not sure how impressive that is in the States. Now, the safety uses boxing as a way to cross-train a little bit, but one thing it really taught him was a sense of fluency.

The safety later spoke about the pride that comes from being among a relatively small group of Canadians over the years that have been drafted to the NFL, but was excited to see that the 2023 draft class had a few. Brown said he hopes that it’s something that inspires the younger generation of kids in Ontario and around the country to know they can do it, and they can do it from Canada.

He admits growing up he didn’t watch a lot of football, and even when he got to college, he was naïve thinking Alabama and South Dakota were on the same level and in the same conference. Still, while there’s a solid following of the CFL in Canada, Brown said that the NFL probably has a bigger audience.

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