The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

February 23, 2014

Pitt State's Brown impresses at combine

Speedster projected as late-round draft pick

INDIANAPOLIS — Fans of Pittsburg State and MIAA football learned several years ago about the speed and explosive ability of wide receiver and return man John Brown.

Now scouts around the NFL are well aware. Brown, a three-time All-American who helped the Gorillas to an NCAA Division II championship in 2011, ran a 4.34 second 40-yard dash for the third-fastest time at the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Original reports clocked Brown at 4.30 seconds, which was tied for the fastest 40 time among receivers. However, official times clocked Kent State running back Dri Archer at 4.26 seconds, Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks at 4.33 and Brown at 4.34.

Brown (5-foot-10, 179 pounds) also posted the eighth-fastest 60-yard shuttle time at 11.4 seconds and the 14th-fastest 20-yard shuttle time at 4.12 seconds.

Sunday’s performance appears to have helped Brown’s draft stock despite criticism about his physical size and the size of the university he attended. Most mock draft boards place Brown as a late-round pick or a priority free agent, but the combine has only helped his stock.

Sports Illustrated writer Chris Burke put Brown at the top of his list of “risers” in an online article published Sunday.

“Brown turned in strong work during the gauntlet drill … that asks receivers to spin into catches twice on the sideline, then sprint the width of the field while attempting five more catches at various intervals,” Burke wrote. “That Brown has shown scouts multiple times now his pass-catching abilities certainly should help him from here on out.”

Brown caught 61 passes for 1,198 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior. He also averaged 32.4 yards per kick return. He finished his three-year career for the Gorillas with 185 receptions for 3,380 yards and 32 touchdowns — all school records.

Other MIAA players at the combine included Missouri Western tight end Reggie Jordan, Northwest Missouri State defensive back Brandon Dixon and Lindenwood defensive back Pierre Desir.

The NFL Draft will be held May 8-10.

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