This is a feature we do every year, running from the start of the Giants’ offseason all the way up to the NFL Draft. For past profiles and other great Draft articles, check out our NFL Draft page.

The New York Football Giants are just six days removed from their fourth Super Bowl and eighth total NFL Championship in the franchise’s storied history.

Sports Illustrated

But you can bet the Giants’ front office has put the celebration behind and is already hard at work preparing for next season and for this April’s Draft. NY SOS is no different. Of course, us Giants fans are still riding high, but it’s time for the organization to focus on the next one, and not the most recent one.

With that, let’s kick off this year’s Prospect Profiles with Zach Brown, outside linebacker from North Carolina.

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Zach Brown
Senior, OLB
University of North Carolina
6-2, 232

Matt did a great job breaking down the Giants’ three biggest needs entering the 2012 Draft, highlighting linebacker as one of the three. The Giants’ recent draft history shows a tendency to select value over need, particularly in the earlier rounds. That being said, one player that would provide good value at the end of round one – as well as help to fill a need – is Zach Brown.

First report, from the National Football Post’s Scouting Department:

A compact, athletically built linebacker with a strong looking frame who possesses an impressive initial burst to his game when asked to close on the football. Looks natural in space, is quick to re-direct and possesses the closing speed to consistently make plays off his frame. For the most part takes good angles in pursuit vs. the run game and breaks down well when running the alley. He generates good natural power into contact, plays low, exhibits a snap through the hips and will run his legs and wrap on contact. He will run himself out of plays in space sometimes and at times plays a bit out of control, but for the most part is a solid tackler. Exhibits better instincts and read-and-react skills than given credit for. He does a nice job of quickly locating the football, doesn’t bite on a ton of play fakes and is quick to diagnose the play. At times he will seal himself away from the action inside the box, but for the most part I was impressed with his natural feel of the game. He needs to do a better job using his hands and extending his arms in order to take on blocks inside, but he looks natural and sudden running around blocks and keeping himself clean. However, he too often leads with his shoulder at the point of attack and, despite his natural power, he doesn’t shed blocks well inside and can be easily sealed from the action.

Looks natural in coverage. He’s quick footed, fluid in the hips and is consistently able to re-direct and explode out of his breaks. At times gets a bit overextended with his hips working in his drop but he collects himself quickly, displays natural balance and exhibits the closing speed to still make plays on the football. He looks natural in zone coverage, keeps his head on a swivel and covers a lot of ground in space. Gets a bit impatient in man coverage, he likes to be physical, and will lose balance into contact trying to create a bump for himself when asked to re-direct. Also, is a bit slow to locate the throw when asked to turn and run vertically. However, he possesses the balance and fluidity that makes him tough to separate from and even if he does give up a step, possesses the second gear to quickly close. Displays the athleticism to hold his own in space in the NFL over the slot and in man coverage vs. NFL caliber running backs.

Impression: A run and hit guy with impressive athleticism and range. Possesses solid instincts and is a better read-and-react linebacker than given credit for, but still not elite in that area. Nevertheless, looks like a starting caliber 43 weak side guy who would be ideal in a cover two scheme

Quick report from the Sporting News:

Coming into season, Brown was still developing as a linebacker and likely to be a third-round pick. As a junior, he didn’t start because of the quality of the Tar Heels’ senior linebackers. When he played his production was inconsistent.

This season, Brown has been dominant, making impact plays in every facet of defense. He has excellent instincts, and combined with his tremendous foot quickness, Brown consistently reads and reacts to plays with urgency. He has elite speed in pursuit and when he gets close to ball carriers or quarterbacks, Brown shows an explosive burst to finish plays. Another skill that should translate in the NFL is his initial quickness as a pass rusher.

Brown could be in position to challenge as the first linebacker drafted in 2012.

Brown is yet another talented linebacker to come from the North Carolina program and could wind up being the best one in recent years. He is a three-down ‘backer who can both cover the pass and stop the run. He would make an impact from day one in Perry Fewell’s cover two defense.