Ji’Ayir Brown And The Bucs

April 3rd, 2023
Ji'Ayir Brown

Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown.

This guy sort of sounds like the second coming of Antoine Winfield.

Look, it is clear to Joe the Bucs will draft a safety this month. Today the Bucs only have two safeties on the roster. One is Pro Bowler Antoine Winfield. The other has one NFL defensive snap to his name (Nolan Turner).

Joe understands a lot of folks are hyped for Brian Branch of Alabama. Good player. But man, if you draft Branch at No. 19 to go along with Winfield (who deservedly is looking to get paid), Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean, that’s a ton of cash devoted to the secondary.

So Joe is wondering about Penn State safety Ji’Ayir Brown. Descriptions Joe reads about Brown sure sound like Winfield — the way he is so smart and is rarely caught out of position. Like the guy has a sixth sense of where the ball is going.

Brown has experience at safety and at the slot and excels at both.

Here is Brown’s profile from Sports Information Solutions:

Throughout his game, Brown’s impact can first be witnessed by his pre-snap orchestration. His constant communication and direction allows him to align his teammates, as well as foreshadow his versatility, frequently changing his own positioning as a response to the offense. Similar to his alignment, Brown is able to execute any assignment. As a true single-high centerfielder, Brown gets by with anticipation and ball skills. Using pre-snap indicators, he is often found floating in the direction of the throw, allowing him to pull the trigger as soon as the QB begins his motion. Brown must use anticipation due to his lack of long speed, but his route to the ball is well-calculated and he is able to locate, track, and high point the ball like a receiver. With his sufficient speed, Brown would fit better in a 2-high scheme where he can drive on half the field and use his instincts in Cover 2 or Quarters. When stepping down into the slot, Brown has the mirror ability to match up with shifty route runners at the next level. He will also be a threat as a blitzer from the slot or the box, with some snaps as an A-gap mugger in college. As a rusher, Brown blends innate instincts with explosiveness, bend, and the determination of man with his life on the line.

Overall, Brown is a switchable, ready-to-play safety that will bring work ethic, aggression, and leadership to any scheme. His size and lack of true speed will likely keep him from becoming an All-Pro, but he is a winning player that turns the ball over, and gets to the QB. He will be a special teams contributor immediately.

Doesn’t that sound like a carbon copy of Winfield?

Brown is not a first round draft pick. Walter Football has him going anywhere from the second to fourth round.

Hey, the Bucs have had decent luck picking safeties in the fourth round the past quarter-century, including Jordan Whitehead and Tanard Jackson, though he liked the bong more than he liked football (allegedly).

And of course, (the good) Dexter Jackson was a fourth-round pick.

35 Responses to “Ji’Ayir Brown And The Bucs”

  1. Buc4evr Says:

    Not hyped at all about any safety in the first round or even the second round. Needs to be an OT preferred Jones or Skoronski at 19. And a DL or Edge or even a ILB in the second round. Build the trenches before anything else this year.

  2. sasquatch Says:

    Not a carbon copy of Winfield because Winfield can run.

    I like Sidney Brown in round 2.

  3. Goatfarmer Says:

    Sounds perfect for a safety. Whitehead came in the fourth round and was pretty damn good as a rookie.

  4. Usfbuc Says:

    Lots of good safeties in this draft. Don’t have to draft Branch but I wouldn’t be disappointed if we did bc there was nobody good left at OT

  5. Joe Swanson Says:

    He would be a good pick in the 3rd round if available if not one of the two safeties from Illinois would be good also.

  6. sasquatch Says:

    Buc4evr Says:
    April 3rd, 2023 at 3:38 pm

    Not hyped at all about any safety in the first round or even the second round. Needs to be an OT preferred Jones or Skoronski at 19. And a DL or Edge or even a ILB in the second round. Build the trenches before anything else this year.

    Well, we don’t even have anyone else who can start at safety. We have to find a starter in the draft, or from the remaining scraps in free agency, or through trade… or long shot hope that somebody is released at cut down day who could come in and start. Seems to me the best choice is to draft one, but not in round 1.

    As for OT, Skoronski has short arms and seems more suited to guard. There are a few RT candidates for round 1 who could drop to us. It remains to be seen whether a suitable starting LT candidate would be available at 19. If Goedeke goes to RT and Wirfs goes to LT, we could wait for a tackle until round 2 or 3, but playing Goedeke at RT means we may need to pick up another guard. Don’t really know how the team sees it. Maybe a guard/tackle swing guy.

    I think it would be ideal to be able to draft someone at DT or OLB in the first couple rounds, preferably round 1.

  7. Jeff Says:

    Getting guys like this a little later lets the GM focus on premium picks like edge rusher early on.

  8. Dooley Says:

    “Hey, the Bucs have had decent luck picking safeties in the fourth round the past quarter-century. Jordan Whitehead was a fourth-round pick.”

    That’s the thing though, of our 9 picks only 3 are in the top 100, none in the 4th round meaning after we pick at 82nd overall we don’t pick again until the 153rd overall pick in round 5. That’s a helluva wait between day 2 and day 3. Expect Jason Licht to be active, don’t be surprised/pissed if we trade back into the bottom 3rd of the 1st round either, especially if it gets us better/more pick placements in the top-100/150.

    4 Teams without a 1st round pick: Dolphins, Broncos, Rams & 49ers

    4 Teams with Multiple 1st round picks: Lions, Texans, Seahawks(4 total picks in the top 100), & Eagles

    These are the 8 teams we need to listen out for in terms of seeking trades day 1 when the draft gets underway. 19th may not be the sexiest spot to pick at, but to the first 4 teams listed just getting back into round 1 would be a win and I’m almost banking on Licht moving down day 1 and trying to deal damn near all of those day 3 picks. I’ll be 100% shocked if we stand pat draft day and just spend our 9 picks with no movement, but I really, really doubt that.

  9. Bucs Guy Says:

    Edge and T in the first 2 rounds. That needs to be the priority. While I believe the Bucs should get a T, I wouldn’t be surprised if they go with the Tackles on the roster today due to money and other needs. It’s very difficult to find long term starters at T and DE in rounds 3-7. The odds are against you. I expect the top 8-10 at each position to be gone by the end of the second round.

    Lots of good Safeties still available in rounds 3 and 4 (though Bucs don’t currently have a 4th).

    Wouldn’t mind seeing the Bucs make some small moves by trading back in the draft (5-8 positions) if they could get an extra pick or two in rounds 2-4. TE, S and CB with the next 3 picks followed by some depth at DT, LB and G. Though I don’t know how much longer the Bucs can continue to push LB and DT to the next year before using an early pick on either (rd 1 or 2).

  10. A Bucs Fan Says:

    No thanks. I prefer either kid from Illinois! Sidney Brown or Jartavius Martin (preferably Martin in the 3rd because Brown will be gone by then).

    Ps. Hat tip to Tanard Jackson for his excellent play and being drafted in the 4th round. If only he could have stopped smoking so much weed. He could have been an excellent player for a long time.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m thinking our 1st round pick will be OT or TE……S in round 3 & 5

  12. TonySoprano Says:

    I don’t want to see Branch drafted at 19. Bowles’ specialty is coaching DBs, so instead of spending all our cap space and high draft picks on the secondary, he should prove his salt and be able to coach up some lesser-skilled players, allowing resources for the other 18 positions on the field.

  13. HC Grover Says:

    Sounds good to me.

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    So googling him, since I’ve never heard of him, and the first un-Winfield thing that pops off the screen is speed, he ran a 4.65 40.


    In today’s NFL, that’s pretty slow. Winfield ran a 4.45. That’s a full .2 of a second slower, which means he’s going to be a half step slower on everything.

    Now I’m just going by the combine number, maybe he was hurt or ran much better on his pro-day, I have no idea, but a 4.65 means he’s basically limited to helping in the run game and maybe covering slower TEs. I certainly wouldn’t want to see him going up against WRs at that speed.

  15. Goatfarmer Says:

    Edge and trench , Trench and edge, trenchmouth, edge-azz.

    Go Jason go Bucs.

  16. Rod Munch Says:

    Goatfarmer – I agree on that. As Dungy said, you build your defense, front to back. You can always find safeties and corners in the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Finding defensive lineman, however, that’s a lot easier to do in the 1st.

    Of course it also depends on how the board falls, if there’s a huge run and you got a 1st round corner or safety and like 3rd round defensive lineman talent, in that case you go against the saying. But if there’s 1st round defensive lineman there, or edge rushers, they should always get the nod over DBs.

  17. Rayswave Says:

    We definitely need a safety this draft but we desperately need O Line especially a LT. I trust Jason & the guys to find the right guy in the first 3 rounds. One thing I do disagree with we should not mess with Tristan’s mojo by moving him to LT the guy is the top RT in the game. Would have been All Pro this year but him missing games doy to injuries pushed him down to second team All Pro. But come on guys why mess with something that’s perfect. I felt the same way about Ali moving to center. Let the man dig in at RT & we’ll be good at that position for 10 plus years.

  18. Rod Munch Says:

    Rayswave – I was 100%, at the time, against moving Marpet to center. Guard and center are literally different positions, and it’s hard to just become a center when you’ve never done it before. Marpet was fine as a center, but he was an all-pro at guard.

    But flipping from RT to LT is NOT the same thing as going from guard to center. Also, like with Marpet, you just move him back if it doesn’t work.

  19. Teflon Don Says:

    This guy can definitely play! Haven’t heard anything about a first round grade tho. Definitely excited for this upcoming draft! Can’t wait to see who we add to the mix GO BUCS!

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    I’d never heard of him either, but his prospect sheet sounded intriguing UNTIl it got to his weaknesses:

    o He’s a willing and capable hitter in run support and closes fast to make plays against quick screens.
    o Not a major liability in man coverage. Decent enough foot speed and length to stay with slot receivers in four-wide sets on short patterns.
    o Made Bruce Feldman’s Freak’s List – ranked #69. He wrote, ” In 2021, he made six interceptions, the most by a Penn State player in 15 years, to go with 73 tackles and two fumble recoveries.
    o The 5-11, 208-pounder has elite quickness, clocking a 3.99 pro shuttle time this offseason. He also ran a 4.45 40 and bench pressed 370 to go with a 345-pound power clean.”
    o Great speed in pursuit with the chase skills to track down the ball carrier.
    o Has a stocky build and sets a physical tone in the middle of the field.
    o Fills hard against the run, showing speed and taking good paths to the ball.
    o Willing in run support, coming downhill quickly when Brown has a chance to make a play.
    o Good strength to tackle. Plays with high energy and is a tough-minded overachiever.

    o Tends to play conservatively and give too much cushion when playing off.
    o He’ll draw plenty of flags early on with his playing style. Brown is hesitant when facing the action in zone coverage.
    o Inconsistent getting off of blocks. Can be a step slow to react when a quarterback comes back to his side of the field late in progression.
    o His combine performance highlighted slow-timed speed. He probably can’t be trusted defending faster receivers deep.

    o Brown’s combine perform was seriously disappointing. We expected him to put up a mid-4.4 time but he ran a pedestrian 4.65

    I’d take a chance on him, but probably not until Round 5 (if he lasts that long). We need someone who can start in Game 1 to pair with Winfield.

  21. Goatfarmer Says:

    Echoing Rod, for emphasis (no capital letters though)

    A great OL means just about anyone that can make it to an NFL squad, even through late rounds and FA, can gain 4+ YPC.

    A great DL means that even below average guys in the secondary can hold their own for less than 3 seconds. But that DL also needs to stop the run.

    Trenches and edge, edge and trenches, trenchmouth, edgebeast.

  22. Rod Munch Says:

    Defense Rules – It’s interesting that they said he played much faster than what he timed. That’s normally a good thing, since it means someone is really fast in pads – but not on the clock, and those guys generally fall in the draft. I’d certainly take a shot on someone like that in the 4th or 5th, if the tape says they are plenty fast enough to play. BUT, if they look slow and clock slow, those are guys I’d never waste on a pick on since they rarely work out since you almost can never overcome being too slow.

  23. Michael Says:

    Texas RB in the 1st. Guy may be the next Adrian Peterson .

  24. Goatfarmer Says:


    Some aren’t getting it.

  25. Goatfarmer Says:

    This capital letters thing is growing on me.

  26. Usfbuc Says:

    Michael, no.

  27. Defense Rules Says:

    Eureka Goatfarmer.

  28. Defense Rules Says:

    Rod … That’s why I was thinking the 5th Round would be OK (I’d even go 4th … IF we had one).

  29. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    1) It’s a passing league. The more resources to the secondary, the better!
    2) Brian Branch at 19 would be approx $15 million over 4 years …. Less than $4 million per year. Not much cash at all.

    If he’s at 19 he is likely the best player available, and your franchise is best off going best player available.

  30. Goatfarmer Says:

    A passing league means you need a pass rush. As has been said before even Revis, Barber, Deion, Lott and Lynch would get roasted if an average scrub QBs has 5 seconds to throw.

  31. Goatfarmer Says:

    I should have written

    A PASSING LEAGUE means you need a PASS RUSH. As has been said before even Revis, Barber, Deion, Lott and Lynch would get ROASTED if an average scrub QBs has 5 seconds to throw.

  32. David Says:

    After OL & DL in the first two rounds, he would be perfect in round 3.

  33. R0n@Tampa Says:

    If you want to really win in this league you gotta focus on the focus. I think the bucs the last 3 years have done a great job at doing that and the proof is in the consecutive playoff streak.

  34. Heath Hunt Says:

    #19 is likely a problematic spot for OT and Edge. Maybe one of the top 2 LT falls to 19. Hopefully a team will want to get in the run of 1st round CB prospects and can pick up an additional 2nd or 3rd rounder. If not will probably have to overdraft for need at OT

  35. Brandon Says:

    Branch is NOT for us. He doesn’t fit what we do. He won’t be a Buc.