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LB Zach Brown and DE Kaelin Burnett visit Lions

Posted by ttwentyman on April 10, 2012 – 4:58 pm

There is no substitute for speed in the NFL and former North Carolina linebacker Zach Brown has plenty of it.

Brown ran the 100-meter dash in 10.6 seconds in high school and set the North Carolina school record in the indoor 60-meter dash as a sophomore. That speed has also translated well to the football field.

In 2011, Brown led North Carolina with 105 tackles. He was tied for the team lead with three interceptions and three forced fumbles, and trailed only first-round prospect Quinton Coples with 5.5 sacks, 13.5 tackles for loss and six quarterback hurries.

At 6-foot-1, 241 pounds, Brown is a unique draft prospect with a rare blend of size and speed.

“(My speed) sets me apart because not all linebackers can run a 4.4 (40-yard dash) and play with that kind of speed,” Brown told Detroitlions.com Tuesday as he was visiting the Allen Park training facility as one of the team’s 30 pre-draft visits. “I can use my speed to make a lot of plays that other linebackers can’t.

“I can cover slot receivers and I can cover running backs because they’re not going to outrun me. I can use my speed when I blitz.”

Brown can also cover, leaving North Carolina with seven career interceptions.

“I can catch and I’ve got good ball skills,” he said. “I take pride in not letting a tight end, or whoever I’m covering, catch the ball. If I’m covering you, you’re not going to catch the ball.”

Brown thinks his speed will help acclimate him to the NFL quicker and possibly make him a contributor early in his career.

“They say the speed of the NFL is much different than college and much faster,” he said. “With my speed, I think it kind of gives me a step on everybody coming in and will make for an easier transition.

“When I figure everything out, I think I’ll be able to click and play even faster.”

Brown played all three linebacker positions in college but said he’s more comfortable on the outside.

The Lions have all three starting linebackers returning from last year’s team – Stephen Tulloch, Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy — and also have reserve linebackers Doug Hogue and Ashlee Palmer under contract.

That’s not to say there couldn’t be a spot for Brown, though. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz is always up for good competition and the Lions would like to add more depth at both linebacker and the special teams, especially with the loss of Bobby Carpenter in free agency. It would be hard to keep Brown’s kind of speed off the field.

Most projections have Brown going off the board in the second round. ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. has him going to the Eagles with the 46th overall pick in his latest mock draft.

Brown says he’s already visited the Bears and Titans and has visits lined up with the Jets and Ravens.

Burnett out to prove analysts wrong

Former Nevada defensive end Kaelin Burnett is well aware what the draft analysts think of his talents.

Burnett, who was also in Allen Park Tuesday for a pre-draft visit, isn’t among the top 150 players available in the NFL Draft, according to ESPN. In fact, there’s not much draft buzz about him at all.

“It fuels me a little bit, but at the same time I don’t have much playing experience,” Burnett said. “But they will know about me.

“You can’t pay attention to it because anything goes on draft day. You have guys that are supposed to go in the first, second or third round go in the sixth or seventh round on draft day. It really doesn’t matter.”

Burnett (6-4, 238) didn’t become a starter at Nevada until his senior year and had to overcome a major hip injury in the spring just to get on the field at all.

In 13 games as a starter in 2011, he recorded 51 tackles, eight tackles for loss and five sacks.

Burnett was not invited to the combine, but turned some heads at Nevada’s Pro Day March 21 when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds.

That has some teams thinking Burnett can stand up and play outside linebacker as well as be a defensive end in the NFL.

“I’m just showing teams my versatility in that I can stand up and play either a Sam or weak-side linebacker,” he said.

Kaelin’s brother, Kevin, is currently a linebacker for the Dolphins.

Burnett would most likely play defensive end if the Lions were to either draft him or sign him as an undrafted rookie free agent.

“Here, it’s all about pass rush and you have to be able to line up wide and go. It’s aggressive,” he said. “I feel like I could do that here.”

The Lions were Burnett’s first pre-draft visit but he’ll also be visiting the Raiders later this week.


Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 10 Comments »


10 Responses to “LB Zach Brown and DE Kaelin Burnett visit Lions”

  1. By lurshawn on Apr 10, 2012 | Reply

    We should get Zack in the 2nd round, CB in the 3rd if we dont get Dre, but if we do get Dre, we can get that offensive lineman in the 3rd if we can get Cordy. So just to solve Confusion, Cordy if available, if Not then Grab Dre, one of these 2 will be available when we pick.

  2. By eric on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Brown is a beast and that would add more depth at the backer position..But not in the first round..if hes there in the second grab him..No telling who they will get..If teams are dumb enough not 2 take Gillmore and he drops we should take him in a heartbeat..This guy is just what we need a physical corner.Maybe they use all the picks on defense couldnt hurt..Once the offense gets the running back situation 2gether watch out..Finally we have a real football team..! GO LIONS…

  3. By fred on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    I’m fairly content with the Lions roster…but I would have picked up Cedric Benson over K smith in FA…but then again that would have taken a salary cap hit. But I wouldn’t have resigned all those linebackers if I had a hint of interest in drafting one. But I think with a few future draft pick trades, the Lions could easily set up a dynasty with majority of the team being so young and talented.-

  4. By RD Lionheart on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    I hope they can grab Brown in 2nd Rd that would be great but addresss either OL or CB with the 1st pick. You can never have enough depth at LB in the NFL same with CB

  5. By hawcharlie on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    I’d love Brown in the 2nd round, we need his speed and blitz capability. I think one of the weaknesses in lions’ defense is inability to blitz effectively. Hopefully, he could add that blitz threat to trhe Lions’ D like Mathews did for GB. Charlie.

  6. By Bryan M on Apr 11, 2012 | Reply

    Either way the lions draft we will have something to say so it the waiting game for us all its fun to wonder but not very many of us have guess right in the last few drafts. The o line is in need as well someone to open some dare holes for the simple 3 yards you need just to keep a drive alive. go lions

  7. By Don on Apr 12, 2012 | Reply

    I like what I am seeeing in who we are bringing in. Zack Brown is a Beast!
    In fact he is at the top of my list for LBers comming out.
    Have you guy’s been studying the CBs Comming out this Year?
    It is really the deepest list of CBs that I have ever Seen as far as Talent goes comming out in the Same year.
    OTs are also Very Deep this Year. and the OT from Harvard is one that I have Overlooked, I will have to go look him up. I know that there are allway’s the three best OTs inthe Draft every year and you feel Cheated when you don’t get one of the three. Well this year there are a lot more to choose from.
    Big, Talented and Smart. We have a chance to really improve this TEAM even More in this years Draft.
    And with Mayhew and Schwartz, Well The whole Staff We are going to get some good Players.
    I love this TEAM GO LIONS!

  8. By carol wadsworth on Apr 16, 2012 | Reply

    sounds like this brown guy needs to be had by the lions his numbers look good to mesounds to me like he is pretty fast, and anyone who can get in there and sack the QB is ok by me and it sounds like he can do it. the whole team needs to get tougher, and they need to block for the QB. so he can get the ball to his man calvin johnson. and the guy that ran so well last year , i hope he can run just as fast if not faster this year. man he is good , but what happened to him he got hurt , well i hope u keep him and he gets healed up and get tougher. this year.i am so ready to watch how this team has advanced, and got more power.and have gotten new players. i went and saw the lion,s play basketball with the FOP from st. joeseph co. and we were all surprised to see herman moore there it was an all right good time, and fun was had by all.and tony sheffler was great.and cory schlessinger was great 2.they do alot with kids and i like that.and of cource there,s ROB RUBICK, the game cant go on with out him.he,s great with the kid,s also.all the players signed autographs, that was cool.i try not to miss these events because i get the chance to get up close and pearsonal, with some of the lions.the whole team is so cool. me and my family loved it. hope to see some of the other lions there next year. well thank you for listening to me , untill next time. A –VERY DEVOTED FAN OF THE DETROIT LIONS.

  9. By Mike Dizz on Apr 16, 2012 | Reply

    Zach Brown in the 2nd round would be awesome. I think CB first round, LB 2nd round and O-Line in the 3rd…. Then another CB in the 4th. Zach Brown is a beast though. His speed will be killer with our front 4.

    Cannot wait for football to start. GO LIONS!!!!

  10. By Detroit Lions Junkie on May 18, 2012 | Reply

    I liked the speed and athleticism that Zach showed, he’s going to turn out to be a satr one day. Some player you can just FEEL it and I feel it with him.

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