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Chase Brown
NFL Draft

Chase Brown Staking Claim As 2023 NFL Draft Prospect To Watch

  • Ryan Fowler
  • August 30, 2022
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In a 2023 draft class stacked with ball carriers, chalk up Illinois’ Chase Brown as another name to watch. A native of Ontario, Canada, and transfer from Western Michigan, Brown has found his footing within Brett Bielema’s offense and could be one of the top backs within a Big Ten stacked with elite playmakers at the position.

His 1,005 yards in 2021 weren’t a fluke, it was really an appetizer of what 2022 could ultimately see Brown become. A versatile back who showcased his ability to create both inside and outside the tackles on Saturday while displaying soft hands in the passing game, Brown has become a prospect to become familiar with as a potential mid-round addition as we look towards the 2023 NFL Draft. 

In Week 0, Brown was outstanding against Wyoming totaling 151 yards and two scores. It wasn’t a week to get up to speed or slowly work his body into shape, Brown hit the ground running from the moment the rock was in his hands and was arguably the standout prospect of any in the country despite a reduced slate of games.

Despite his shorter stature at a tick above 5-foot-9, Brown plays with intelligent violence behind his pads, natural leverage with a low center of gravity, and the footwork and vision that consistently lead him to open grass. While smaller running backs are often looked upon as talents that have to create outside the tackles to outrun linebackers and are inserted as third-down ‘change of pace’ talents, Brown is an outlier to the narrative that can do it all within the trees of the trenches, in open space in isolated matchups, and as a receiver on passing downs.

A performance against Wyoming that has placed a nice spotlight on his game, continuing his production as the go-to weapon for Bielema throughout the season will present a nice evaluation window for us here at The Draft Network and within the entire industry. While names in Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Sean Tucker will prove to be the headliners within a deep pool of running back talent, Brown could be a prospect that enjoys a substantial rise on boards due to his obvious bag of traits and continued production. 

It’s Chase Brown as the lone standout within the Illinois offense, and if the redshirt junior is able to continue to pop with eight bodies in the box, he won’t be a sleeper for much longer as the Illini enter the meat of their schedule.

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Ryan Fowler