Brown, who did not attend the event in Chicago, was projected as a first-round draft pick anywhere from the 15th selection anywhere to the end of the first round, but the selection by the Patriots was a little bit surprising because the Patriots play a 3-4 defense. Brown is generally considered a better fit as a three-technique defensive tackle in a 4-3 defense rather than a nose tackle in a 4-3 or a 3-4.
There was talk that New England could trade out of the first round, but may have ditched that idea when Brown fell past the Detroit Lions at No. 28 and the Indianapolis Colts at No. 29. And so just when it looked like Brown would fall out of the first round, he landed with an organization that will unquestionably put him in a position to succeed, even if he doesn't seem like an ideal fit in head coach Bill Belichick's defensive system.
A finalist for the Nagurski and Outland trophies following an impressive junior season, Brown unsurprisingly decided to forgo his final season of eligibility by declaring for the draft. The 6'2, 320-pounder led the team in tackles for loss (15) and sacks (6.5), becoming the first defensive tackle to lead the Longhorns in both categories in a season since Tony Degrate in 1984. He also led the team in forced fumbles (2), and tied for the team lead in QB pressures (8), while recording 72 tackles.
In February, Brown helped his cause with a strong showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis:
Draft expert Daniel Jeremiah was effusive in his praise of Brown on the NFL Network during the Combine (transcription courtesy of Horns247):
"One of my favorite players in this draft class, he's easy to figure out when you study him, he had a great day today. He can be dominant at the point of attack but also has that quickness to penetrate up-field and I thought he did a nice job through the bag drills today."
Brown is now the fourth Texas player selected in the first round during the last seven seasons, joining Kenny Vaccaro (2013), Earl Thomas (2010), and Brian Orakpo (2009). However, he was also the first Longhorns player drafted since 2013.