Route Running –In-breaking patterns have a nice snap, will separate clean against off coverage. Most effective routes work in the short/intermediate areas, where strength can shine to get off of contact. Hook routes, speed outs, whip routes, slants and shallow posts are winning routes.
Hands –Plucky hands, does well to win in tightly contested situations due to strength of the hands extend for the ball. Reliable middle of the field receiver with hands, won't alligator arm a ball due to an arriving defender in the MOF.
Contested Catch Ability –Has hauled in some impressive catches with defenders draped off of his frame. Concentration in said situations is impressive, as is his ability to re-work into a position to challenge the ball if he's lost leverage once the ball is in the air.
Run After Catch Ability –Strong. Difficult to corral in a head up situation due to aggressive nature and size. Has just enough wiggle to force a false step and break a pursuit angle, which then complicates tackling him due to contact balance.
Football IQ –Has made heady plays around the boundary in two minute drill situations to ensure the clock stops. Is polished with his routes and shows some good variety on route stems to keep defenders guessing and not squat on his break.
Vertical Receiving –Doesn't have a great deal of vertical speed but if matched up one on one can separate from corners thanks to size/physicality and win slot fade patterns. Tracks the ball well over either shoulder to make reads on the ball and temper his pace to catch a pass in stride.
Change of Direction Skills –Doesn't have a lot of spring in his cuts, nor is he classified as a shifty receiver. That said, is a smooth athlete on his feet and has an effective ability to accelerate through shallow angles to pull away from trailing coverage. RAC skills come courtesy of strength/balance.
Speed –Isn't a burner, by any means. Won't win a lot of 50-yard footraces. Has enough play speed when pressing hard off of the line of scrimmage to close cushion and get defenders on the defensive. Would struggle on the outside against longer cornerbacks who can pin into the boundary.
Competitive Toughness –Would love to see some greater effort with consistency. Too many reps of slow rolling off of the line of scrimmage or walking around with his ball carrier in a pile. Is tenacious with the ball in his hands, will maximize every yard of available space after the catch.
Blocking Ability –Big, physical and can be a highly effective locking hands onto defenders. Has the upper body strength to stay latched onto a block and mirror/dictate momentum of the play. Effort is not always consistent, however.
BEST TRAIT – Contested Catch Ability
WORST TRAIT – Change of Direction Skills
BEST FILM – Auburn (2018)
WORST FILM – Alabama (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
A.J. Brown projects as a powerful slot receiver who can be leaned on as a chain moving target in the middle of the field. Brown doesn't have the short area quickness to play in more leveraged situations on the boundary, but his hands, contested catch ability and run after catch strength can shine brightly if he's implemented between the numbers with consistency.