When Texas junior defensive lineman Malcom Brown decided to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft in January, he didn’t have just himself to consider — he had his family to think about, as well.
Brown, who turns 21 this year, knows his burgeoning pro career with affect his wife, Faith, and their two children, Mayah and Rayna.
“A lot went into it because I had to finish school, my wife had to finish school, so that took a lot of thought because both of us wanted to finish,” Brown said. “And I had to think about moving my family around, stuff like that. So, we sat down and talked and came up with the best decision was to come out.”
Brown, who had one year of eligibility remaining, figured the risk was worth the reward. A quick, penetrating defensive linemen with solid size (6 feet 2, 319 pounds), Brown is widely considered to be a first-round pick this year, and could even sneak into the top 10.
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Because of his family, Brown knows he has to make this NFL thing work.
“It just gives me more (motivation),” Brown said. “I’m not just playing for myself anymore — I’m playing to support my family. I can’t just think about myself when I make decisions. I have to think about my daughters and my wife being supportive, so I have to give it my all.”
That effort shows on his tape, where Brown consistently plays hard and hustles to the football. Texas coach Charlie Strong, a disciplinarian, and has repeatedly praised Brown’s practice habits, as well — a surefire indication of a player that loves football.
“I go out and I have fun,” Brown said. “I don’t go in with the mindset that it’s going to be a hard practice. I’m going in to have fun, (the) offense is gonna to have a hard time blocking me, I’m gonna get them in trouble. I’m gonna push them to do better. Coaches know I’m gonna practice hard.”
That’s part of the reason Brown finished this season with 70 tackles — a high number for an interior defensive lineman — including 13 for loss, with 6 1/2 sacks and seven quarterback hurries in 13 games.
“I mean, I could have tacked on another good year,” Brown said. “(Declaring) wasn’t just striking when the iron’s hot, because I could have had another hot year. It was more just about talking to everybody, taking everything into consideration, and at the end of the day I just made a good decision.”
That kind of conscientiousness, despite his relative youth, should appeal to teams willing to stake a first-round pick on the ample chance Brown has only scratched the surface of his potential.
“Well, when I was growing up, I was just always around older folks — everybody said I was young but an old soul,” Brown said. “That’s just how I grew up. When I play, I know when it’s time to get serious and I know how to switch it on and off. I know how to get serious and take on responsibility. Just growing up I’ve always been around that.”
Inside the 2015 NFL Draft: defensive ends
From now until the draft begins on April 30, The Star will take a look at each position group.
▪ Ranking the top prospects: Find Terez A. Paylor’s detailed evaluations and rankings of the top 17 defensive ends on our draft preview page at KansasCity.com.
▪ What the Chiefs look for: The Chiefs run a 3-4 defense, but with the way the league has become so pass heavy over the last few years, finding players who can rush the passer has never been more important. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton uses the stout five-technique run stuffer that immediately springs to mind when one thinks of a 3-4 defensive end, but he also likes to use a three-technique tackle who shoots gaps and generates pressure.
▪ Chiefs’ needs: The Chiefs signed Allen Bailey to a four-year extension during the 2014 season, so he’ll be a starter along with Mike DeVito, who is recovering from an Achilles injury but took a pay cut to stay one more season. The Chiefs also have a talented young player in the mix in Jaye Howard, who was the starter last year after DeVito went down. Howard, however, will be a free agent after the season while another promising youngster, Mike Catapano, will look to re-establish himself after his 2014 season was wiped out because of a bizarre bout with a gastrointestinal virus and a concussion.
▪ Sleeper: Idaho’s Quayshawne Buckley (6-2, 296) did not face great competition and needs to bulk up some to handle the run, but he possesses the athleticism, get off and pass-rush technique to potentially make an impact as a pass rusher in the NFL.