Justin Fields may be the talk of the town but he is not the only big name coming out of Ohio State. Baron Browning has everything necessary for a modern NFL linebacker to succeed. He is 6’2″, 245 lbs. with explosive power. At his Pro Day, Browning registered a 40-inch vertical with a 10-foot, 10-inch broad jump and a 4.56-second 40-yard dash. Add in an elite 6.78 three-cone time as well. He is big enough and fast enough that teams are looking at him to be a defensive end.
Ohio State Career
Browning quickly found the field as a true freshman. Playing in five games, he logged 14 total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. The departure of Jerome Baker in the 2018 NFL Draft opened the door for Browning. In 2018, he played in nine games and started three. Browning put up 23 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and a sack. Baron Browning had his breakout season in 2019 which him on the map as a draft prospect.
2019 saw Browning emerge into a consistent rotational role on Ohio State’s defense. He amassed 43 total tackles in 11 games and also added on 11.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. Browning could have made a case to declare for the draft as a junior. However, he decided to stay in school, graduate, and further his development. Browning’s 2019 production earned him a place on the Butkus Award watch list ahead of the 2020 season.
With uncertainty surrounding the season due to Covid-19, the Big Ten ended up overseeing a truncated schedule. Baron Browning only ended up playing six games but that didn’t stop him from distinguished himself as one of the Buckeyes’ premier defenders. Over the course of the 2020 season, Browning accumulated 24 total tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He noticeably improved his consistency from the 2019 campaign. 2020 saw him trend toward being a steady presence.
Baron Browning Accolades
- One of the top linebackers in the nation as a senior, a 5-star prospect who earned the No. 1 outside linebacker distinction
- Named a U.S. Army All-American and a finalist for the 2016 high school Butkus Award as the top linebacker
- State Associated Press 4A defensive player of the year with 81 tackles, 10 TFLs, and 10 PBUs
- Named Fort Worth Star Telegram All-Area
- Two-time first-team all-state honoree had 74 tackles and eight TFLs as a junior and finished his career with eight forced fumbles
His positives definitely outweigh the negatives. Baron is athletic, explosive, and fast-moving in every direction. He is fluid getting to the play laterally and possesses a burst to the ball. He cuts off the corners from running backs, shows strength, and makes the tackle in space. Browning can cause force fumbles too. Browning can be streaky, inconsistent, and has questionable instincts. No question he has some growing to do on the football field.
Browning’s mix of athleticism and energy shows up in all phases. As a run defender, Browning is fairly proficient at penetrating gaps and sealing off space. On outside runs, his pursuit speed and length serve as invaluable assets. Baron has grown in his tackling angles in 2020. Browning generally has a good feel for how to pursue ball carriers. Additionally, he is a solid tackler who has the size to slow players down and the playing strength to knock them to the ground solo.
Al “Big Al” Zaffiri
Co-Host & Writer for Edge of Philly Sports
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