INDIANAPOLIS — Mel Kiper Jr. scratched his coiffure. Noah Brown says he’s only started to scratch the surface.
“I think that’s what this process is about,” the former Ohio State wide receiver said Friday at the 2017 NFL Combine. “I think when I go on the field (Saturday) and run routes and catch the ball, I think he’ll see why I did it.”
The 6-foot-2 wideout surprised Buckeyes fans by declaring for the NFL draft after a redshirt sophomore season that saw him catch 32 passes for 402 yards. The decision also rubbed Kiper Jr. the wrong way, and the longtime ESPN draft analyst openly questioned the wisdom of Brown’s decision during a national conference call with reporters earlier this winter.
“I mean, you can’t second-guess this type of situation,” said Brown, who won’t run the 40-yard dash with his position group Saturday but plans to participate in the other wideout drills.
“This is a life-changing event. You can’t go into it unsure (of), ‘Should I have done this or not?’ I think you have to be fully committed and ready to do whatever it takes. And I think I’ve felt that way from the beginning.”
Brown admitted Friday that the choice to jump now was influenced somewhat by the broken leg that wiped out the autumn of 2015. Last fall, he snared 7 touchdowns — 4 of them coming in a 21-point win at Oklahoma on Sept. 17.
“I’m not sure anybody is sleeping on him,” offered former teammate Curtis Samuel, an H-back who’ll run with the receivers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday. “I see Noah every day in practice. That thing that a lot of guys (in the media) don’t get to see is, his work at practice. Whatever plays are called in a game, he can’t really affect that, that’s coach’s decision.
“But I feel like Noah is ready for the National Football League. He’s a big, physical receiver, (has) great hands, and I feel like he’ll be all right.”
Functional strength sure as heck won’t be much of an issue, if Friday is any indication. Brown’s 19 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press tied for second among the wideouts in attendance:
Top WR bench #NFLCombine
Billy Brown 23
Noah Brown 19
Robert Davis 19
Chris Godwin 19
Kenny Golladay 18
Speedy Noil 18
Curtis Samuel 18
— CollegeFootball 24/7 (@NFL_CFB) March 3, 2017
“I wouldn’t say he made the wrong decision; I (won’t) say he made the right decision,” Samuel said. “That’s his call. If he feels like he’s ready, he’s ready.”
In No. 80’s mind? He’s ready. No matter what Mel says.
“That’s what I plan on proving, that I’m a ballplayer that belongs here,” Brown said. “So when I hear stuff like that, I know (this) process is going to solve that question, so I’m not worried about it.”