Chase Brown - RB - Illinois
Welcome to the rookie profile for Chase Brown. Chase Brown isn’t huge, but he is chiseled more so than any running back in this class and made Bruce Feldman’s Freak List. Brown’s size makes him more versatile than the other scatbacks in the class and gives him a more obtainable upside. Brown doesn’t do one single thing at an elite level, rather he does many things very well making him one of the most well-rounded running backs of all the rookies. Brown doesn’t project to be a lead back at the NFL level but instead projects to be a Matt Breida-like backup, where he is serviceable when forced into action as the starter but is more suited to being just a complimentary player. Brown simply isn’t the type of player that a team will want to hand a bell-cow role.
Height: 5′ 9.5″
Weight: 209 lbs
40-yard dash: 4.43s
3-cone drill: DNP
20-yard shuttle: DNP
Vertical Jump: 40″
Broad Jump: 10-7
Bench Press: 25
*age is at the start of player’s rookie year
Chase Brown was a 3-star recruit coming out of London, Ontario, Canada before joining the Western Michigan Broncos.
As a freshman in 2018, Brown played in 13 games and rushed for 352 yards and 0 touchdowns. He also totaled 10 catches and 75 yards in the passing game before entering the transfer portal.
Chase transferred to Illinois for the 2019 season where he joined his twin brother. Brown was forced to sit out the first half of the season with Illinois before finally being deemed eligible to play. He only found his way into 2 games and was ultimately redshirted to preserve a year of eligibility.
In 2020 Brown played in 8 games for Illinois and rushed for 540 yards and 3 touchdowns while chipping in 7 catches for 64 yards through the air.
Brown returned in 2021 still as a sophomore due to covid eligibility rules and had his first breakout season. He rushed for 1,005 yards and 5 touchdowns while adding in 14 receptions and 142 yards receiving.
In 2022 Brown once again set a career-high in yardage. He racked up 1,643 yards rushing and a staggering 10 touchdowns and once again saw his receptions total double to 28 catches for 240 yards and 3 receiving touchdowns.
Chase Brown has become just as dangerous as a pass catcher as he is as a rusher. Brown has elite burst and explodes out of the backfield. He possesses excellent vision and when combined with his physicality he hits the holes with force and determination.
His truly elusive talent is as a pass catcher. Chase’s role as a pass catcher doubled in each of his final 3 seasons with Illinois. He has great hands and excellent vision upfield once he gets the ball in his hands. Chase will be an elite option in the passing game and is a threat to take even the shortest screen pass to the house.
While Brown runs a limited route tree he executes those routes to perfection and with the ease of a technician wide receiver.
As I stated above, Brown runs a very limited route tree. His most frequent routes are short swing passes and screens less than 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. While he is great at these routes he will need to develop a more diverse route tree if he doesn’t want to become a one-trick pony.
Brown is a stalky, well-built player but still checks in on the smaller end of the size spectrum. His frame is relatively small and may not leave much room to bulk up further. This puts him into a growing group of rookie running backs that profile more as scat-backs than as true workhorses.
The biggest hole in brown’s game is as a blocker. As you can imagine, a player of his size isn’t the most effective blocker but brown takes that to a different level. Brown often appears to be flailing wildly while attempting to block and lacks any technique or refinement whatsoever. He tends to rely heavily on chip blacks and cut blocks and even struggles to execute those at times.
Pre Draft Analysis
Expected Draft Capital- Round 4/5
Ideal Landing Spot- Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers have been trying to find a competent backup to ease some of Austin Ekeler’s workload for the past 3 years and have failed miserably. Chase Brown may be yet another wasted draft pick but he profiles as the perfect running back to spell Ekeler when he needs a breather. Brown has a similar skillset to Ekeler with less upside and can easily be subbed in for short periods to act as Austin Ekeler-light.
He won’t ever take over the role from Ekeler but as a complimentary piece, he could be exactly what the Chargers need. I like this landing spot for Brown and the Chargers, but I don’t anticipate this landing spot or any other giving Brown much value to fantasy managers.
While he doesn’t profile as a dominant NFL back he will certainly be an entertaining one who can produce highlight reel plays when given the chance.
Post Draft Analysis
Cincinnati Bengals – Round 3, Pick 163
As mentioned above, Brown does not have much standalone value at this point but if Mixon were to be released or suspended he would become the hottest waiver wire add of the week.
In the event he does find his way onto the field, the Bengals would likely use either Trayveon Williams or Chris Evans to compliment Brown as he doesn’t profile to be a three-down workhorse. He best projects as a third-down pass catcher who can be a change of pace back behind Mixon. Barring a catastrophic event it is unlikely that he will be worth starting in fantasy leagues consistently and is little more than a late-round lottery ticket.