clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Film review: Taking a closer look at Orlando Brown at left tackle

The Chiefs surrendered significant resources to acquire their new left tackle — and could soon sign him to a lucrative extension within the next two seasons. So what do they have in the player?

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 18 Oklahoma at Kansas Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando Brown Jr. is a left tackle. And more specifically, he will enter the 2021 season as the new left tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs — a team heavily favored to get back to a third consecutive Super Bowl.

Much has been made about the Chiefs’ offensive line overhaul that general manager Brett Veach aggressively spearheaded this spring. However, most of the discussion has focused on the offensive line’s potential improvement as a collective unit.

In my debut piece for Arrowhead Pride, we will evaluate some of Brown’s individual 2020 game film at the left tackle position, where he was selected to the Pro Bowl for a second straight season. Let’s dive in.

Examining the skill set

Awareness / Processing

If you have taken the time to listen to Brown speak in any of his initial interviews since joining the team, it became quickly apparent that he is a cerebral player who respects the process of film study. This shines through on tape as well.

Brown consistently displays a strong feel in his pass sets of where to best position his body to make the defender’s job more difficult. Athletic traits — or a lack of them — are the primary reason Brown fell to the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He can overcome these deficiencies typically because of how prepared he is for each opponent he encounters. Quite simply, Brown is a football player — and a darn good one at that.

Brown’s understanding of the game and what defenses are trying to do to take advantage of him presents itself in how he handles twists and stunts along the defensive line:

With All-Pro left guard Joe Thuney to his right, the Chiefs possess an elite left side of their offensive line, considering how they should be able to handle more exotic looks from the opposition. That is before considering how bright rookie center Creed Humphrey is advertised to be as well. The depth of options on the right side of the offensive line inspires enthusiasm, too.

Length, Hand Usage, and Power

Brown is a very lengthy player with 35-inch arms. He likes to use his overall size to not only get his hands on defenders first but then also push edge rushers up the arc roughly 10 yards behind the line of scrimmage.

He is highly effective working off play-action pass concepts, where his length and grip strength shine brightest. I expect that the Chiefs will do what they have always done under head coach Andy Reid by leveraging what their offensive players do best while minimizing areas of potential weakness.

An offensive approach including a more diversified, quality running game that opens up consistent play-action passing threats makes a ton of sense for Kansas City entering 2021, especially considering the skill along a renovated offensive line, as well as the elite speed the Chiefs have at wide receiver to threaten defensive backs. Reid can maintain a truly aggressive, down-field approach with potentially more overall efficiency if this comes to fruition in 2021.

It would not be a surprise to see an uptick in screen game usage for the offense this season, either. Brown shows the ability to really lock down edge defenders with his long arms and strong hands, a tool which would be useful in setting up defenders for failure as they rush up field in those instances. He also can leverage these skills in a really positive way when executing run-pass option (RPO) blocking techniques, a concept the Chiefs love to execute with quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Brown can go toe to toe with the best of the best as a pass protector, and it is because of all the things mentioned above, as well as great right-hand placement and significant power in his punch. He doesn’t make it easy for whoever lines up across him.

On the flip side, maintaining reasonable expectations is essential.

Brown can do many great things as the blindside protector for Mahomes and the Chiefs, but like other players, there are areas for growth. How he adapts to a significant scheme shift coming from Baltimore to Kansas City will certainly be worth monitoring.

Competitiveness and strength in the run game

A game or so into the review, and it was very clear that Brown takes much pride in his efforts as a run blocker. Moving professional football players against their will to a spot in which they do not want to be is much easier said than done. However, Brown excels in this area, and the Ravens displayed vast amounts of confidence in his abilities based on their play calling.

Equally impressive is Brown’s ability to block in space as a puller and execute wider stretch-zone run concepts at over 340 pounds. His competitive toughness really shines in these moments:

The bottom line

At this point, it is clear the Chiefs gained a player of substantial value in Orlando Brown Jr. for 2021 and hopefully beyond. At just 25 years old, his prime playing years probably haven’t been seen yet. If (or when) the day comes that Brown is extended in Kansas City with a large contract, it will likely be well deserved.

In conjunction with the other offensive linemen added to the mix, Brown's Pro Bowl-caliber skill set creates some very high expectations in Kansas City. Ultimately, he is one piece of the puzzle that all needs to gel together to accomplish what the team is setting out to do — take it back.