Just when it looked like Texas Longhorns defensive tackle Malcom Brown was set to fall all the way out of the first round, the New England Patriots decided not to pursue a rumored trade out of the 32nd pick and took Brown instead.
-- The decision by the reigning Super Bowl champions was met with nearly universal acclaim:
-- SB Nation's draft expert Dan Kadar loved the pick, too:
32. New England Patriots - Malcom Brown, DT, Texas
Many thought the Patriots would be trading out of the first round, but they smartly stayed at No. 32 and got a replacement for Vince Wilfork. Most thought Brown would be gone, so to get him here is a steal.
-- Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong shared his thoughts on Brown:
"The thing you like about Malcom is he's so aggressive at the point of attack," head coach Charlie Strong said. "He's a player that can get off blocks, but he can make plays. He's got outstanding quickness and agility. He's one of those guys that can control the line of scrimmage. He'll be a success because of his work ethic. He works hard and comes to work each and every day. It doesn't matter who he's going against, he's always looking to get better."--
-- The only concern? Some analysts saw Brown as player who wouldn't be able to play nose tackle in a 3-4, but the Patriots clearly foresee Brown being able to play a variety of roles:
More importantly, Brown has the type of versatility that Bill Belichick craves up front—he can play a five-tech, a three-tech or even slide down and play nose. He'll fill some of the snaps vacated by Vince Wilfork's departure, but do so while offering more three-down potential than the run-stuffing veteran.
Buoyed by that belief, SI rated the draft pick as an A for the Patriots.
-- Patriots head coach Bill Belihick also had a media availability and said words about Brown:
"Based on the players that were on the board, we felt like he was the best player for us," Belichick said. "So, a combination of his talent, work ethic, production, skill set relative to what we're looking for -- we felt like he was the best for us."
Belichick also noted the versatility of Brown since he played so many roles for Texas in the last several years -- everything from nose tackle outside to five-technique defensive end.
-- Another key thing to note? The Patriots have been playing a number of defensive fronts recently and aren't currently married to a 3-4 front or a 4-3 front, meaning that Brown won't necessarily have to play nose tackle and anchor against the run, which is not his strength.
-- Here's one reason why Brown isn't really capable of replacing the space-eating of Wilfork:
I think Malcom Brown will do a great job of filling the hole left behind by Wilfork right after he eats another Malcom-Brown-sized person.— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) May 1, 2015
The shocking thing is that the Patriots listed Wilfork at 325 pounds, only five or so pounds more than Brown. The visual evidence suggests it's been a long time since Wilfork weighed that much:
325? C'mon man! (Mark J. Rebilas -- USA Today Sports)
-- Brown and his family opted to watch the draft in Austin instead of in Chicago:
-- He received congratulatory tweets from a number of current and former Texas players, including Emmanuel Acho:
Childhood friend, former high school teammate, and current Texas teammate Tim Cole also shared a message for the big defensive tackle:
Congrats to my lil bro @MalcomBrown_90 on getting drafted to the Patriots. Blessing my boy! Wishing you the best success— Timothy Cole Jr. (@Timbo_Cole30) May 1, 2015