The Bengals got a bit of a jump on free agency with the signing of former Detroit Lions running back Aaron Brown yesterday. Brown is heading into his fourth NFL season after having spent his first three seasons with Detroit, who selected him in the 6th round of the 2009 NFL draft. Brown was cut by the Lions in November.
Brown is a former Horned Frog from TCU, and was a college teammate of Andy Dalton during Dalton’s Freshman and Sophomore years. He was not invited to the NFL Combine that year, but did receive the attention of national scouting agencies and was predicted to go in the 6th-7th round.
Brown played a total of 22 games with the Lions, with 2 starts. He finished with 45 attempts for 189 yards (a 4.2 yards per carry average) and caught 18 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown. In
college, he appeared in 41 games at TCU. He collected 2596 rushing yards on 487 carries (a 5.3 average) with 20 touchdowns. He also caught 81 passes for 857 yards and 5 scores. Additionally, Brown has experience as a kick-off return man in both college and the pros.
He is generally considered to be an extremely fast runner and quick through the hole. On the negative side, he’s a bit on the thin side for a back, has thin legs and runs high. He isn’t seen as a bell-cow back, but more of a change-of-pace runner and an excellent receiver.
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The Bengals got a good look at him in last year’s first pre-season game. Brown got several opportunities in that contest back on August 12, 2011. Brown finished with 21 yards on 4 rushes, and collected another 49 yards on 5 catches.
I don’t think this signing changes anything in terms of offseason planning for the Bengals. They will still certainly kick the tires on some free agent backs and will likely draft at least one in April. That said, I think Jay Gruden may see Brown as a good West Coast running back in the LaSean McCoy, Charlie Garner type of role. Additionally, he may add value in the kick return game, where Brandon Tate disappointed last season.
What do you think of this signing?