Chase Brown, Junior, Illinois – (Projected: Fourth Round)
It’s hard to believe that the top rusher in the Power 5 could be considered a dark horse, but it’s true in the case of the Illini ball carrier. Despite racking up 1,643 rushing yards along with 10 touchdowns in 2022, he’s not perceived as a starter in the NFL
Brown is entering the 2023 NFL draft ranked as the No. 9 running back in the draft by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. If that holds, then he’s likely to be taken in the fourth or even the fifth round.
The 5’11”, 205-pound back has good numbers, but scouts don’t view him as strong enough to be responsible for 20-25 touches a game. He also doesn’t score prolifically, finding the endzone only 21 times in his entire career at Illinois.
However, he does have good speed and is a ‘project player’. If a team can bring him along slowly and show plenty of patience, they could have a solid contributor.
For Chase Brown, his success may ultimately lie in landing in the right system. If a team really like Kansas City or San Diego like him, he might be worth taking a round early.