Titans pick UCLA’s Jayon Brown in 5th round of NFL draft

Jayon Brown had to be pleased to hear his name called as early as the 11th pick of the fifth round.

The UCLA linebacker was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 155th overall pick of the NFL draft on Saturday, near the top of his projected range. The undersized linebacker, who led the Pac-12 with 119 tackles last season, was worth the Titans trading their fifth- and sixth-round picks to the Eagles in order to move up nine spots to select Brown.

An athletic linebacker good in coverage and a solid tackler with his 6-foot, 231-pound frame, Brown has hope to quickly find his way into Titans packages designed to defend the pass.

READ: Jayon Brown can help Titans’ weakness in the middle

When former UCLA linebacker Myles Jack went down with a torn meniscus in September of Brown’s junior season, he filled in well enough to lead UCLA with 93 tackles. He was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection as a senior and impressed the Titans enough to warrant selection near the top of his projected range in the draft. It didn’t hurt Brown that Titans linebackers coach Lou Spanos was the defensive coordinator at UCLA his freshman season.

Concerns about Brown’s lack of size and ability to shed larger lead blockers in the NFL made him a probable late-round pick ranging from the fifth to the seventh round. Going to the Titans near the top of the fifth was close to best-case scenario for Brown. The Titans traded the 20th pick of the fifth round and 31st pick of the sixth round to the Eagles for the 11th pick of the fifth round.

Tennessee needs help defending the pass in the middle of the field, where he will fit nicely as an athletic inside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. He had six passes defensed each of the last two seasons at UCLA. Brown also has a knack for causing turnovers, intercepting three passes and recovering two fumbles last season alone.