Despite that knee injury in the 2008 season, Browne received Freshman All-American recognition by accumulating 26 tackles, seven for loss, four sacks, one interception, two forced fumbles and a blocked in 10 games as a reserve. Healthy as a sophomore, Browne led NU linemen with 39 tackles, eight for loss, and five sacks. In his second-team All-Big Ten (league media, no recognition from coaches) junior season, he boosted his production (58 tackles, 15.5 TFL, seven sacks, two forced fumbles).
Browne lacks the explosiveness of Big Ten star 2011 first-round pick Ryan Kerrigan, but opposing offensive coordinators will tell you his hustle and instincts affect their game-plans. Slight improvements in his hand usage and quickness off the snap could go a long way in taking Browne from "try-hard" top 100 pick to Kerrigan's "elite prospect" status.
Pass Rush: Hustle pass rusher with adequate quickness and good length. Works through his block, especially if his man stops his feet, as long as the ball is in the pocket. Lines up on both sides of the formation to take advantage of match-ups. Effective on twists, throwing his body into tackle and guard to free tackle outside. Comes off the snap high, allowing better tackles to get their hands on his numbers and cut him too easily. Lacks superior flexibility and bend to quickly turn the corner. Does not own a variety of pass rush moves.
Run Defense: Gives great effort against the run. Assignment-sure, keeps containment on his side of the field whether covered or left free. Inconsistent defeating cut blocks, but hustles to recover to chase the play. Does not defeat tight end blocks as easily as scouts would like; bowls them over at times but also gets moved out of the hole. Inconsistent at the point, at times leaning into double teams and splitting to get to the ball and others times getting stood up or pushed back by playing too high.
Explosion: Does not possess elite quickness off the line or power to bull-rush NFL-caliber tackles, but is fast enough to pressure outside shoulder of tackles and provides enough punch to bull lesser linemen.
Strength: Flashes upper-body strength to rip past blockers and lower-body strength to stand up to double-teams, but will need to get stronger and play with more leverage to succeed at the next level because of his height and relatively thin hips. Controlled on the line too often by strong-handed blockers, does not rip off blocks consistently.
Tackling: Very good hustle and chase tackler. Goes down the line and gets back to help teammates wrap up ballcarriers 10-12 yards downfield, taking deep angle to prevent touchdowns if coming across the field. Wraps from behind with good length, though he will leave his feet. Good closing speed and change-of-direction ability, locks up bootleg plays in his direction. Absorbs multiple shots from blockers and keeps moving towards the ball. Does not bull through to shed blockers regularly, however, to make stops.
Intangibles: Reported weight room work ethic not surprising given on-field hustle. Missed all but three games of senior year in high school with torn right ACL, part of 2008 season after tearing a ligament in his left knee."
Allows his pad level to get upright and doesn’t have the ability to drop his shoulder when turning the corner. Works hard toward the edge, but can easily be pushed past the play because of his high pad level as he exposes too much of his frame/chest into contact.
Is a linear athlete as well, struggles to re-direct, doesn’t have much shiftiness when trying to change directions and his only counter is a spin off his “speed” rush, but he doesn’t exhibit much closing speed off it once he gains a step. Doesn’t have the power in his lower half or ability to gain leverage to work the bull rush.
Tries to threaten gaps on the inside through the C Gap, but doesn’t do a great job extending is arms and using his hands, leads with his shoulder too often and can easily be stonewalled on contact. Isn’t a consistent anchor player vs. the run game either. Allows blockers to routinely get under his frame, doesn’t generate much pop out of his stance and can consistently be jolted/handled on contact, even vs. tight ends.
Works hard and does use his arms better vs. the run. Has some wiry strength to his game and can slip blocks at times through contact, using his long/lean frame to slip past blocks. But, isn’t real balanced in any area of the game, ends up on the ground too often and lacks the range to routinely make plays off his frame.
Impression: A long, lean kid who plays hard, but struggles with leverage, isn’t real explosive and I don’t think he’s going to be able to find a home in the NFL."
Rangy player with long arms who can disrupt passing lanes; weight room warrior has excellent strength and uses arms well to disengage; also has good balance and body control and a great motor, but lacks real quickness and explosion off the snap;
Also has limited closing speed; suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss several games in 2008."
Works through his blocks, good leg drive; uses his hands well, extends his arms and uses his length to keep himself clean, strong enough to provide a bull rush versus weak-handed linemen...
Maintains gap assignments and is generally quick to diagnose plays, high motor, gives a good effort versus the run, good change of direction agility and gives a good effort working down the line...
Takes good angles when flying around the field, works toward the ball, reliable wrap-up tackler... Has played both LDE and RDE at Northwestern and can create some matchup difficulties, has some experience playing linebacker.
Negatives -- Isn't a dynamic athlete and doesn't have the burst to challenge the edge as a pass rusher, decent straight-line speed but lacks good initial quickness, doesn't have much of an arsenal of pass rushing moves...
Gets too upright off the snap, linemen can get underneath him, inconsistent technique and will struggle to disengage at times, doesn't always play to his weight room strength and is too often pushed out of plays due to high pad level... Average anchor and marginal balance, can be moved off point, on the ground too much...
Will leave his feet attempting to make some tackles... Browne is a good hustle player but simply lacks the physical tools they'll be looking for in the NFL, he can hold his own in a favorable matchup versus linemen that aren't real strong or powerful, but is a complete non-factor and will be engulfed by blockers otherwise...
May be best suited to play rush linebacker in a 3-4, and will need some time to develop... Major durability concerns, tore his ACL, LCL and hamstring on the same play as a senior in high school and missed most of the 2008 season due to a torn ligament in his left knee."