NORMAN, Okla. — Two weeks after a disastrous showing at the NFL combine, Oklahoma offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. bounced back with a better performance at his pro day.
Brown ran the 40-yard dash in 5.63 seconds and benched 225 pounds 18 times Wednesday, a considerable improvement from the 5.85-second 40 time and 14 repetitions on the bench he delivered Indianapolis. Brown also improved on his broad jump (89 inches from 82) and vertical jump (25 inches from 19.5).
“The numbers at the combine just didn’t go well,” Brown said. “My breathing got off on the bench. Bad technique. From there, it just snowballed. My mentality was off.
“The numbers I hit today are the numbers I was hitting before the combine.”
The son of the late Orlando “Zeus” Brown, who played for the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, Brown was a unanimous All-American protecting Heisman winner Baker Mayfield’s blind side last season. When Brown first declared for the NFL draft, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay initially projected him to go in the first round.
Despite his poor combine outing, Brown said he still has goals of becoming a first-rounder, and is hoping NFL teams will focus more on his track record and his tape than his workout numbers.
“Measurables are measurables and that’s what the general managers and head coaches and scouts use, and it’s understood,” Brown said. “You can’t knock it. You’ve got all these guys that have run 4.9s and been successful. But then you’ve got these guys that have run 4.9s and been bad. I think I’m an unusual prospect with the way my film is and my unusual testing, a pretty big deficiency. Hopefully these coaches recognize who I am as a person, that I’m going to continue to work.”
Brown admitted it hasn’t been easy dealing with the fallout of his notoriously bad combine performance.
“I’ve been having to stay off Twitter, because, man, I’ve been getting so many 12-year olds in my DMs telling me they’re stronger than me,” Brown said. “I had somebody send me something in German. I had to translate it. It just got weird. It translated into something like, ’12 reps dude, come on!'”
Twelve-year olds aren’t the only ones who have jabbed Brown over Twitter. Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger referenced Brown’s combine bench in a recent tweet.
— Sam Ehlinger (@sehlinger3) March 12, 2018
Wednesday, Brown, tongue-in-cheek, responded to Ehlinger’s tweet:
“Did he start this year? I know he lost though, so. Ain’t much to say. I can’t really bash him. I did do 14 at the combine,” Brown said. “But just tell him, I’m open to one-on-ones any day he wants. We can meet at the Cotton Bowl if he likes. Doesn’t matter to me. I can come down to Austin.”
When asked to clarify what he meant by “one-on-ones,” Brown said: “I mean if he wants to fight, we can fight. If he wants football, we can play football. Whichever one he wants. We can bring the whole crew.”
Brown said that ultimately all the combine criticism gave him motivation to work harder going into pro day.
“I’ve had bad plays and come back and had great games,” he said. “I’m the type of person that takes criticism like that and uses it as fuel.”