2023 Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update: Chase Brown

The NFL Draft is behind us, rookie drafts are taking place, and as dynasty managers, we are looking ahead to the upcoming season. In our Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update series, we break down all the incoming fantasy-relevant rookies, looking at their profiles and where they fit. The basis of the rookie profile involves the usage of STORM analysis, focusing on five key components: Situation, Talent, Opportunity, Risk, and Market.

SITUATION

Name: Chase Brown

Position: Running Back

Pro Team: Cincinnati Bengals

College Team: Illinois

Draft Status: Round five, 163rd overall

Chase Brown was one of the most productive backs in college football over the past two seasons, where he amassed 2,648 rushing yards and 15 rushing touchdowns, along with 41 catches for 382 yards and three touchdowns in the receiving game.

However, his immense productivity did not earn him a high draft selection, as he fell late into day three. Brown was the 10th running back selected in April, but he thankfully landed in one of the best offenses in the NFL that has a hole to fill in the RB room.

TALENT

Chase Brown Combine Results:

Height: 5’9’’

Weight: 209 lbs

Arm: 31’’

Hand: 10’’

40-yard dash: 4.43

10-yard split: 1.5

Vertical Jump: 40’’

Broad Jump: 10’7’’

Chase Brown is a frustratingly unique player to watch run the football. He is an athletic freak and showcased those skills at the combine, earning a RAS of 9.8. He has incredible speed and explosiveness, and when he hits a hole freely, he’s turning it into a significant gain.

However, his size is a big issue. While consistently falling forward on his runs, he rarely cleanly breaks a tackle. He is constantly being brought down by the first defender he encounters. While he was able to produce in college against inferior talent, the defenders only get bigger, stronger, and faster in the NFL, and he won’t have that sheer volume to prop up his production.

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Courtesy of RAS.

OPPORTUNITY

Cincinnati Bengals Depth Chart:

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Courtesy of 4for4 Depth Charts.

While Brown did fall into the late 5th round, I’m not sure he could have landed in a better position than he did in Cincinnati. After the loss of Samaje Perine to the Broncos and the ever-increasing age of Joe Mixon, it is evident that the Bengals would select an RB in the 2023 draft. Now, Brown steps into one of the best offenses in football with a clear path to production.

Perine was a dependable change-of-pace, pass-catching RB for the last few seasons and operated primarily on third down. Without Perine on the roster, that treasured role is now up for grabs. Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans have not been productive backs throughout their short NFL careers and have combined for only 64 carries in six seasons. More importantly, they only have 26 catches combined throughout their careers.

This shows that the Bengals do not trust Williams or Evans with an increased role in this offense. That lack of trust or skill leaves a massive opportunity for Brown to take hold of the third-down role for the Bengals. Brown flashed receiving upside in college, with 41 catches over the last two seasons.

Not only does Brown have the chance to produce immediately, but there is also room for an even more prominent role in the future, depending on what the Bengals do with Joe Mixon. There were rumors that Mixon could be a cap casualty this offseason, but he survived those rumors. However, I see no world where the Bengals bring Mixon back in 2024 at his current salary. Mixon will cost $13.1 million against the cap in 2024, but the Bengals can clear $10.1 million by releasing him.

Cincinnati and Mixon could still work out some restructuring and pay cut, but Mixon will be 28 going into that season, and the Bengals have a host of other players they need to pay on offense in the coming years. There is a clear opportunity for Chase Brown to not only produce immediately but also take control of a more significant role in years to come.

RISK

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Courtesy of Sports Reference.

We’ve discussed Brown’s incredible production over his last two seasons at Illinois, but he still brings his own set of concerns with him.

First, his two breakout seasons came in his 4th and 5th years of college. Late breakout and late declaration are usually not a combination you are looking for when attempting to project future NFL success. Brown is also already 23.5 years old. To go along with his age, Brown accumulated 734 touches while in college and has plenty of wear and tear on his tires. Very rarely do we see an RB come into the NFL already with that many touches. While that may speak to his experience, it is also a potential health concern.

The other issue with Brown is his size and ability to run through contact. At 5’9’’ and 209 lbs, Brown is definitely on the smaller size when it comes to prototypical RBs, which manifests itself on the field. Brown had a career mark of 3.26 yards after contact per attempt, which is in the 19th percentile of all RBs drafted since 2018.

MARKET

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Courtesy of DLF’s May Rookie ADP.

Brown is being drafted in the middle of the third round with an ADP of 30.26 as the RB9. His stock had risen from before the draft, where he was routinely selected at the end of the third round and usually taken as RB12. This value increase is due to an excellent landing spot and many other RBs falling further in the draft than people anticipated.

chase brown ta dlfData Courtesy of DLF Trade Analyzer.

If Brown takes complete control of the coveted pass-catching role in Cincinnati, then he could be an incredibly valuable pick in the third round of your rookie drafts.

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andrew francesconi
2023 Dynasty Rookie Post-Draft Update: Chase Brown