Sports Outside the Beltway

Dallas Cowboys Draft CB Courtney Brown

Dallas Cowboys CB Courtney Brown Photo NFL Draft Logo 2007 The Dallas Cowboys have selected Cal-Poly cornerback Courtney Brown with the second pick of the 7th round (212 overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft (a pick acquired in trade from Detroit through the N.Y. Jets).

He’s tall (6’1″), big (196 pounds), and extremely fast (4.39) but has poor technique and went to a school that competes well below the highest level. The gang at The Ticket note that he wasn’t even invited to the Combine and that the 4.39-40 was run in a campus workout.

Here is his Scouts, Inc. profile:

Courtney Brown | CB | (6’1″, 196, 4.39) | CAL POLY

Scouts Grade: 59

Flags: (S: SPEED) Player lacks ideal speed at position

Strengths: Possesses excellent top-end speed, shows a second gear when tracking the ball downfield and can run with most receivers. Gets adequate knee bend in backpedal and shows good closing speed attacking the line of scrimmage. Flashes the ability to change directions quickly and has the burst to develop above-average man-to-man cover skills. Possesses good upper body strength and has the potential to develop into an effective press corner. Is tall, times jumps fairly well and can compete for jump balls. Reads routes fairly well, is aggressive and can jump routes. Lined up at receiver during freshman season, has the ball skills to make plays in coverage and is a dangerous open field runner that can produce after the catch. Fills hard when reads run and is an adequate open field tackles. Can get downfield quickly and has the potential to develop into a strong special teams’ player.

Weaknesses: Inconsistent footwork and can take too long to open hips when forced to turn and runs. Is vulnerable to play action and takes too long to recover when gets caught out of positions. Doesn’t have great bulk for frame and could get pushed around by bigger receivers. Lacks experience returning kicks and isn’t expected to contribute to the return game at this point. Played at a small school and there is some concern about ability to make the jump to the NFL. Sustained a season-ending knee injury in 2004 and durability is somewhat of a concern.

Overall: Brown lined up at receiver during his true freshman season in 2002 and he caught nine passes for 139 yards. He moved to corner in 2003 and he started six of the eight games he appeared in. Brown finished with 16 tackles, two interceptions and one pass break up. He played in game of the 2004 season before sustaining season-ending knee injury. Brown started 13 games of the 2005 season and he intercepted seven passes. He also broke up 12 passes and recorded 44 total tackles that year. Brown played in 11 games in 2006 and intercepted one pass. He also recorded 51 total tackles and broke up seven passes.

A knee injury in 2004 and small school competition caused Brown to fly under the radar throughout most of the draft process. However, he has drawn late attention due to a strong senior season. Brown clearly has the tools to develop into a contributing defensive back and special teams player in the NFL. He has a good frame for a corner, he’s fast enough to run with receivers downfield and he shows good quickness underneath. If he’s coached properly and continues to develop his skills with experience, Brown could emerge as a late-round steal a few years down the road.

His profile:


The former wide receiver found a home in the Mustangs secondary in 2003, and then made a remarkable recovery from a left knee injury to establish himself as one of the elite players in the collegiate ranks. Brown proved time and again that he is a stellar shutdown cornerback, as he not only matched the school single-season record for interceptions (seven) in 2005, but he also did not allow any touchdown receptions in his last two years as a starter.

Brown was an All-League defensive back at St. Mary’s College High School, where he earned two letters in football as a receiver and defensive back. He also competed in track-and-field, qualifying for the state high school finals. In the classroom, he was a four-year Honor Roll member.

Brown enrolled at Cal Poly in 2002, where he played in eight games as a reserve receiver. He gained 139 yards on nine receptions (15.4 avg), with a long of 50. The following season, Brown shifted to the defensive backfield, starting six of eight games at left cornerback. He played behind Kenny Chicoine during the first two games and then went on to post 16 tackles (15 solos) with two interceptions. He would sit out the final three contests with an ankle sprain.

A left knee anterior cruciate tear in the 2004 season opener against Humboldt State put Brown on the shelf for the rest of the schedule. He returned to action in 2005, shifting to right cornerback, where he was credited with seven interceptions. He earned All-Great West Football Conference first-team honors while totaling 44 tackles (27 solos) and 12 pass deflections.

Brown earned All-Great West Football Conference first-team accolades again in 2006. He came up with 51 tackles (33 solos) and seven pass break-ups. He also had an interception and 1½ stops behind the line of scrimmage while allowing just 29 receptions with no touchdowns.

In 41 games at Cal Poly, Brown started 31 contests. He recorded 111 tackles (75 solos) with 1½ stops for minus-2 yards. He deflected 22 passes and intercepted 10 others for 63 yards in returns. He also gained 139 yards on nine receptions (15.4 avg).


Positives: Hard work during the 2006 offseason saw Brown increase his bulk and improve his overall muscle definition … Has a tight waist with tapered thighs and calves, long arms and adequate chest thickness … Generally lines up against the opponent’s best receiver and shows good confidence in his ability as a shutdown cornerback (did not allow any receptions in three games in 2006) … Builds to top speed in a hurry and shows good open-field acceleration to close on the ball … Has above average agility, balance and body control, along with adequate hip snap to stay tight on the receiver throughout the route … Best when utilized in man or press coverage, but needs to show better aggression in run support … Product of the weight room, demonstrating better force behind his hits in 2006 than he did in the past … Self-starter who prefers his own privacy, but is well-respected by the staff and liked by his teammates … Reads the pass quickly and does a good job of recognizing the routes … Instinctive open-field tackler who has the hand strength to press and re-route the receiver … Uses his speed well to lock on and mirror the receiver in one-one-one situations … Smooth and effortless runner who reads the quarterback’s release quickly and redirects to the ball in a flash … Shows good zone awareness, striking and jolting the receivers with force in press coverage … Has the catch-up speed and range to get to the ball immediately in pursuit … Adjusts to the receiver’s moves well and shows the burst to close on plays in front of him … Shows natural hand extension to catch the ball outside the frame and has the speed to recover and get back in the play when he over-runs the ball … Times his jumps and will compete for the ball at its high point … Not an explosive tackler, but is effective at wrapping and has the functional strength to bring down ball carriers in one-on-one situations … Takes good angles and plays tight in man coverage, using his hands effectively to strike in the bump-and-run.

Negatives: Needs to refine his footwork in his backpedal, as he appears to round his breaks and lacks crisp plant-and-drive agility … Plays too aggressive at times and will get caught out of position when he peeks into the backfield too long … Does not always recognize when his cushion is broken, but has the burst to recover … Needs to play vs. the run with more aggression, as he seems to hesitate to stick his head in the pile and gets blocked often by the bigger linemen … Shows some hesitation in his transition, mostly when he side pedals … Needs to do a better job of breaking down plays in the open (gets out of control at times).

Compares To: Chris McAlister, Baltimore — Brown has exceptional quickness and is a big cornerback with natural hands for the interception, but like McAlister he tends to like making open-field tackles or attacking the ball rather than play in run support. He has a developing frame with good strength, showing it well when jamming receivers, but is not an explosive tackler. He will bring good value in the nickel and dime packages, but needs to get more aggressive in run force.


2003: Missed the final three games vs. Cal-Davis, Idaho State and Humboldt State with a high ankle sprain.

2004: Suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee vs. Humboldt State in the season opener (Sept. 3), missing the rest of the schedule … Granted a medical hardship.


Campus: 4.32 in the 40-yard dash … 2.48 20-yard dash … 1.46 10-yard dash … Bench pressed 225 pounds 15 times … 4.07 20-yard shuttle … 7.1 three-cone drill … 41½-inch vertical jump … 10-foot-11 broad jump … 32½-inch arm length … 9½-inch hands … Right-handed … 25/39 Wonderlic score.

Combine: Did not receive an invitation.

Attended St. Mary’s College (Berkeley, Calif.) High School, playing football for head coach Jay Lawson … All-League defensive back, earning two letters in football as a receiver and defensive back … Also competed in track-and-field, qualifying for the state high school finals … In the classroom, he was a four-year Honor Roll member.


Civil Engineering major … Son of Billye and Terrence Brown … Born Feb. 10, 1984 in San Francisco, California.

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