LA Rams Camp Showdown V: Michael Hoecht vs. Ernest Brown IV
By Bret Stuter
Just good ole football fundamentals
Amidst the sea of athleticism and versatility, the Rams chose a player from Northwestern University by the name of Earnest Brown IV who the team was in constant communication. This was not a sexy pick, and as such may not strike many as good value. But oh yeah, it’s there. This young man is the type of player who possesses a phenomenal football foundation and perspective. He is the type of athlete who already embraces the LA Rams DawgWork defensive line mindset.
Standing 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 270-pounds, the LA Rams essentially drafted the logical heir apparent to Morgan Fox. If you recall, Fox stood 6-foot-3 and weighed in at 275-pounds. Two more inches taller is a good thing, as the extra height helps disrupt passing lanes, obstruct quarterback visibility, and even deflect the football. Whether or not it will help Brown bring down an NFL quarterback remains to be seen.
LA Rams defensive line coach Eric Henderson is the real deal folks. He pushes players to be their best through blood, sweat, and tears. Earnest Brown IV has the power, the focus, and the mindset of a rookie defensive lineman who truly wants to improve his game. He’s come to the right place. And if you want to read up on this guy, there is a very informative interview over at the Draft Network by Justin Melo. It’s an honest interview with a player who was just a one-year starter in college. But he has a great foundation, and his long-armed frame will be high-quality clay for Henderson to sculpt in this training camp.
He is a big enough body to bulk up and start to work into the middle of the defensive front this year as well. His shortfall of starting was a bit limiting and resulted in a bit modest draft profile. He works hard to get to the passer, but in the video, you can detect occasions where he can raise his hands, take a better angle of pursuit, or be a bigger impact on that play.
He has a size that rivals that of outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, and that creates the chance of becoming a tweener as a defensive end / outside linebacker on a defensive front that can make use of his incredible strength and versatility. He shows the ability to stick with a receiver on routes down the field. Seriously. He is a huge blue chip developmental project on this roster. Can he pull it all together to become a primary rotational player? I think he has the potential to do exactly that. He has a strong ability to read the offense, and instinctively migrates to the ball carrier.
For a rookie, he offers a great deal of potential. He shows plenty of power to line up over the center. He is headsy enough to stand up and work as an outside linebacker. But he can be a force in run defense and has the right potential to become a solid pass rusher.